Boris Tells Councils Remembrance Day Should Be Discouraged

Published on 7 November 2020 by Kirsty

Filed under News, Politicians

Last modified 11 November 2020

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Remembrance Sunday events have been ‘discouraged’ under Boris Johnson’s second lockdown rules.

Boris Johnson has become a national embarrassment.

Under No10’s new instructions, local councils were told that events at war memorials can take place, as long as services are held outdoors and kept short, with numbers of attendees at a minimum.

But as Brits prepare to mark the day, the Government has issued a warning to “be mindful” about the risks of spreading Covid.

And while members of the public are legally allowed to stop and watch commemorations, event organisers should “take reasonable steps to discourage the public from attending”.

The Prime Minister has today complied with the rules by laying a wreath alone at the Uxbridge War Memorial in west London, which lies in his constituency.

But his new command on Sunday services will likely provoke outrage – after it was this week revealed England’s new shutdown will prevent veterans from going to church this weekend.

Instead, servicemen and women will be forced to stand outside in the cold – and those caught heading inside could face a £200 fine.

House of Lords peer Lord Cormack – who had planned a safe, socially distanced event in Lincoln Cathedral – slammed the rule as ‘disgraceful’.

He told the Telegraph: “The Government has come up with an imbecilic answer: that the veterans, all of whom are 90 and over, can stand in the cold and be rained on, but they can’t go into a safe, socially distanced cathedral. 

“This is a disgrace.”

And it was yesterday revealed that people must keep moving during the two-minute silence – or fill out test and trace forms.

Anyone who stops to spectate at events can expect to be asked for their personal details under guidance issued by the Ministry of Communities.

Falklands veteran Maj Gen Julian Thompson said: “It’s Government control freakery.

“This can only be invented by some guy in an office who doesn’t have anything to do with the public.” 

New guidance to keep members of the public away from services altogether is likely to spark more fury.

The Government advice has urged organisers to “be mindful of the risk that such events pose, especially to veterans who are often elderly”.

After the row over keeping heroes out in the cold broke out, calls for “sensible exceptions” were backed by the former Archbishop of Canterbury as well as the Catholic Church.

Lord Carey, 84, said tomorrow may be the last day for veterans to pay their respects to fallen comrades.

Under the four-week lockdown, places of worship are closed for communal prayer until December, unless they’re being used for funerals, individual prayer or childcare.

Lord Carey told the Telegraph: “Even at this late hour, the Government should make sensible exceptions to allow veterans, some of whom may not see another Remembrance Sunday, to attend a service in small numbers in a Covid-secure church.

“Surely we can find ways to honour those who have given so much to their country.”

And Bishop Paul Mason, Catholic Bishop of the Forces, added: “We petition the Government for an exemption to hold Remembrance Sunday services in our places of worship.”

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester in the Church of England from 1994 to 2009, also added his voice to calls for a re-think.

“I don’t think veterans, some of whom may be elderly or disabled, should be made to stand in the cold,” he said.

“In fact, if people can pray individually in church, while safe distancing, why should they not pray together?”