Thank you for your email about the ban on communal worship during the national lockdown in England.

Since the Prime Minister’s announcement on 31 October, I have received many emails from concerned constituents who have shared with me with their fears about what another national lockdown will mean for them and their loved ones.

I understand that many people of faith are opposed to the government’s decision to ban communal worship during the lockdown period. While people will still be able to engage in private prayer, places of worship will be required to close except to broadcast acts of worship, host funerals and provide childcare. This means that religious services will no longer be able to take place.

It is very sad that our places of worship, which have acted responsibly throughout the pandemic and adapted their venues to become COVID-secure, are once again being asked to close their doors to worshipers wishing to partake in religious services.

We have all had to make sacrifices this year and whilst this has been difficult at times, most of us have been happy to so for the benefit of others. However, many people now feel that the government have failed in their responsibility to demonstrate why it has decided to impose some restrictions, but not others. I share this feeling.

From the time the pandemic was declared and still now, the Labour Party have always sought to act in a way that both protects our human rights and prevents unnecessary deaths.

That is why Labour had been calling on the government to impose a two-to-three week “circuit breaker” lockdown since 13 October. We believe that it is right that we follow scientific advice, which is why we urged the government to use the half-term holiday in England to fix testing, protect our NHS and save lives. The government refused to listen and instead of getting a grip on the virus, they have lost control of it. We have all been let down by this Tory government and we must now all live with the consequences of their incompetence.

Please be assured that Labour will continue to hold the Tories to account for their abysmal response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are keeping safe and well. Thank you again for contacting me about this important subject and please do not hesitate to get back in touch if you have any further points you would like to raise.

Best wishes,

The Rt Hon. Emily Thornberry MP
Islington South and Finsbury

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