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Government must work with faith groups to support communities says City MP

Responding to concerns about restrictions on all places of worship during the national lockdown in England, Stephen Morgan MP has been taking a range of actions to take forward concerns by constituents including putting pressure on Government on these decisions.

The Government’s second national lockdown in England until 2 December 2020 means that under the new restrictions, places of worship of all faiths can open for individual prayer, funerals and formal childcare, but sadly not for services. Weddings are also no longer permitted expect under the most exceptional circumstances.

The city MP has been liaising with a number of local faith leaders as well as submitting parliamentary questions to ensure our city’s voice is heard.

Commenting on this, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I value enormously the contribution faith communities make to our society, especially here in Portsmouth, through their spiritual leadership and the way they serve the most vulnerable members of our community.

Throughout the pandemic, religious groups across our city have run foodbanks, provided thousands of hot meals, delivered essential supplies, given childcare support and provided many other essential services.

Leaders of faith communities across England have rightly expressed disappointment that they were not consulted ahead of the Government’s announcement.

I am concerned that the way in which the most recent restrictions were announced shows a disconnect with faith groups and a lack of appreciation for the importance of places of worship in our communities”.

The Portsmouth South representative is calling on the Government to adequately consult faith communities on future plans. On this he added:

“I believe the Government must now set out what steps it will take to ensure vital places of worship are not lost from our communities as a result of Covid-19.

Ministers should hold regular meetings with the Places of Worship Taskforce to ensure faith leaders are consulted and provided with support, particularly ahead of important religious festivals”.

The city MP has vowed to continue to take action to represent the views of Portsmouth’s diverse faith groups and organisations.