Local Councillor Slams MP for “Irresponsible Letter”

James Arrowsmith, South Gloucestershire councillor for Stoke Park and Cheswick, has slammed local MP Jack Lopresti’s dangerous call for Churches to be open on Easter Sunday, contradicting advice given out by his own Government and the Holy Week Statement prepared by Church leaders across the UK. Easter Sunday is the most important day in the Christian calendar and usually sees millions of people attend Churches of all denominations across the country.

Mr Lopresti wrote to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Local Government Secretary, asking for Churches to open their doors on Easter Sunday.

This contradicted Mr Lopresti’s statement made in the same letter that the “Government strategy to instruct people to stay at home is absolutely necessary to restrict the spread of infection”.

The Government has restricted all public gatherings, including religious ceremonies whilst the coronavirus continues to present a high risk to the public. Since then, with the support of Christian leaders, Churches across the country have closed and many of them have broadcast their services on social media.

James Arrowsmith, councillor for Stoke Park and Cheswick (located within Mr. Lopresti’s constituency), responded with:

“Jack Lopresti should know better than this. His letter mentions the public health crisis several times, yet he downplays it by drawing crass comparisons to the need for people to feed themselves and key workers leaving their homes to supply food and medical care for us and to look after the most vulnerable.

“Thousands of people up and down the country have died following the COVID-19 outbreak. He should withdraw his irresponsible letter, apologise for being so reckless and reaffirm his commitment to following the Government’s advice.

“The Government’s advice is supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster – if they are prepared to support a temporary closure to prevent the spread of this dangerous illness, I would hope that our MP could do so too.”

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