Theresa May during a Salisbury visit
Remembrance

Theresa May: Veterans 'Deserve Better' Than Online Remembrance Services

A ban on communal worship during England's second lockdown means church services marking Remembrance Sunday are cancelled.

Theresa May during a Salisbury visit

Former Prime Minister Theresa May says veterans deserve better than online Remembrance services to commemorate their sacrifices.

The Conservative MP warned of "unintended consequences" of the Government’s ban on communal worship during the second lockdown in England, which starts on Thursday and will last until 2 December.

It has meant church services marking Remembrance Sunday have been cancelled.

Tory peer Lord Cormack said forcing elderly veterans to stand outside on Remembrance Sunday because of a lockdown ban on communal church worship was "imbecilic".

Downing Street this week confirmed that Remembrance Sunday events in England will be allowed to go ahead outside despite the coronavirus lockdown, providing social distancing measures are in place.

The public has, however, been asked to stay away from the Cenotaph in central London and watch the smaller scale service at home on TV.

Some Remembrance events in Scotland have been moved online.

Speaking during a Commons debate on the restrictions to church services, Mrs May said: "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.

Cenotaph London
Members of the public have been urged to stay away from the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday (Picture: PA).

"And it has unintended consequences.

"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?"

Conservative former minister Sir Edward Leigh said places of worship should open again as soon as possible.

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

Earlier, during Prime Minister's Questions, Conservative MP Stuart Anderson (Wolverhampton South West) asked when places of worship would be able to reopen.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson replied: "I’m so, so deeply sorry that these restrictions have to be placed right now.

"But 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 2 December, and that’s why I hope the House will pass the package of measures tonight."

Cover image: PA