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Kent MPs call on Boris Johnson to open churches before Christmas after lockdown ends

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MPs are stepping up calls for the government to open church doors amid the pandemic for the Christmas season and beyond.

Kent’s five Tories today joined the ranks of more than 70 Tories in a bid to move forward with the controversial new measures.

Craig Mackinlay, MP:
Craig Mackinlay, MP: “Eliminate the nonsense in the current regulations with the treatment of the faithful.” Stock photo

Churches and religious communities have not been spared from tighter restrictions during the lockdown following advice from SAGE, the scientific advisory group for emergencies.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, MP Sir Edward Leigh said: The message of Christmas hope is needed more than ever in a year which has brought dark days for so many.

This year’s plans have been disrupted by a virus that has already caused so much pain and frustration in people’s lives.

Something that would bring tremendous comfort and joy to millions of Christians in this country is the certainty of being able to attend church this Christmas.

Current national measures, which ban religious services, are due to expire on December 2. They fell during the Diwali Festival and the first Sunday of Advent.

Kent MPs are calling on Boris Johnson to open churches before Christmas after the lockdown ends.  Stock photo
Kent MPs are calling on Boris Johnson to open churches before Christmas after the lockdown ends. Stock photo

The letter, signed by Craig Mackinlay, Damian Collins, Tracey Crouch, Sir Roger Gale and Tom Tugendhat adds: We must never stop people from attending church services again.

It comes as details will likely be revealed tomorrow on the Covid-19 measures to be enforced across the UK, with infection rates dictating what levels areas are placed in.

But as the national rate begins to decline, the county’s continues to soar, rising 167% to 288 since Boris revealed the country was closed for the second time.

Craig Mackinlay, MP for South Thanet, told KentOnline that there was a lot of obvious nonsense in the nationwide lockdown and worshipers were being insulted.

While I certainly don’t envy the Prime Minister having the enormity of dealing with Covid-19 on his shoulders, there are so many obvious absurdities in the current regulations, with the treatment of the faithful being just one example.

The congregations that attend churches – as well as the faithful in synagogues, mosques and temples – are adherent, sane and disciplined people. Treat them like anything, but that’s nothing short of an insult.

I urge the Prime Minister to allow religious services to take place at Christmas and beyond.

The revelation surfaced after a group of church leaders – including a vicar of Tunbridge Wells – filed for judicial review of the English and Welsh governments’ decision to shut down churches during the lockdown.

A total of 122 church leaders from many religious traditions have filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State for Health and Social Affairs Matt Hancock, claiming the decision to ban worship services during the current lockdown is illegal .

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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