MPs will today vote on the government’s new measures that will enforce a 27 day lockdown across England. The move, which will see all church and religious services banned, has been widely condemned by Conservative politicians.
If approved, the restrictions will be in place from midnight tonight, and continue until at least 2 December.
There is growing distrust of prime minister Boris Johnson, whose government has been accused of poor handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Furthermore, Johnson has been faced with criticism from within his own party. Yesterday, Conservative MP Richard Drax said lockdowns are “destructive, divisive, and don’t work”. “They simply delay the inevitable”, which is, he said, “the re-emergence of the virus when lockdown ends”.
Bob Seely, Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, appeared to demonstrate agreement with Drax, in saying the government is “losing the plot”.
Church leaders have joined the increasing number of voices in expressing disdain for the proposed measures, which will see all but so-called “essential” shops closed.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols joined Anglican, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu leaders in an open letter to Johnson opposing a ban on public worship. The letter says that public worship plays an important role in supporting vulnerable people and that there is no evidence to justify its prohibition.
“We understand entirely that the country faces significant challenges and the reasons behind the Government’s decision to bring in new measures,” the letter says. “But we strongly disagree with the decision to suspend public worship during this time.”