Council won’t appeal prayers decision

After the High Court ruled prayers at council meetings were ‘unlawful’, Bideford Town Council has decided not to appeal.

BIDEFORD Town Council has decided not to appeal the High Court’s decision that putting prayers on agendas is unlawful.

The council agreed by eight votes to five at a meeting on Thursday that it would not accept the indemnity from the Christian Institute to take on the appeal.

Councillor Trevor Johns, the Mayor of Bideford, said: “The council agreed it was not comfortable accepting the indemnity as it did not agree with the condition attached.

“The appeal had the potential to become a long and costly process, and the Christian Institute could not guarantee it would cover all of the costs if it did.

“I am happy with the majority decision of the council as we took a democratic vote; it will also give us a chance to see the effects of the Localism Act.”

The council has removed prayers from the agenda. They are now said in the chamber before the official meeting begins.

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Former councillor Clive Bone, who fought against the prayers alongside the National Secular Society, said he was happy the council had decided not to appeal.

Mr Bone said: “I think that the decision of the council just indicates our position, and that this shows we have won the argument.”

n Both Cllr Johns and Mr Bone were interviewed by Washington Post reporter Anthony Faiola last week as the debate continues to make headlines on an international level.

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