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Theresa May warns future governments could make public worship illegal if precedent set during lockdown

by Chantalle Edmunds
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The former Prime Minister Theresa May has told the House of Commons that she's concerned future governments with 'the worst of intentions' could make public worship illegal, if services are allowed to be stopped during the second lockdown.

Speaking during a debate about the lockdown measures introduced in England on Thursday, Mrs May aired her fears that the move would create a dangerous precedent.

"I just want to make one word about public worship and echo the concerns of others. My concern is that the Government today, making it illegal to conduct an act of public worship for the best of intentions, sets a precedent that could be misused for a government in the future with the worst of intentions, and it has unintended consequences."

She went on to comment about the impact of the restrictions on Remembrance services.

"The Covid secure remembrance service in Worcester Cathedral is now going to be turned into a pre-recorded online service. Surely those men and women who gave down their lives for our freedom deserve better than this? The public and Parliament wants to support the Government to take the right decisions. To do that we need to have the right figures, the right data and the proper information."

Places of worship will be closed from Thursday in England for four Sundays, until 2nd December. Broadcasts can still be done from church buildings and they can open for private prayer but no regular services or weddings are allowed.

Conservative former minister Sir Edward Leigh also added his voice to the debate and said places of worship should open again as soon as possible.

He told the Commons: "Everybody knows if they go to their local church, or indeed to their mosque, that mask-wearing is enforced, social distancing is enforced."

Earlier in Prime Minister's Questions, Boris Johnson had apologised for the restrictions placed on religious gatherings and added: "we will work as hard as we can and as fast as we can to make sure that we allow them to come back to worship in the way that they want from December 2nd."

 

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