Town council loses fight to save prayers

Joseph Bulmer

Bideford Town Council has lost its fight in the High Court to save its prayers in council meetings.

BIDEFORD Town Council has lost its right to say prayers at the beginning of council meetings.

The High Court today ruled that “The saying of prayers as part of the formal meeting of a council is not lawful under s111 of the Local Government Act 1972, and there is no statutory power permitting the practice to continue.”

The judicial review was initiated by the National Secular Society (NSS) against the council, after former councillor Clive Bone, an atheist, said he felt “disadvantaged and embarrassed” by the prayers.

The judgement was handed down at 10am today by Mr Justice Ouseley and the council has requested permission to appeal the decision.

The initial case was heard at the High Court on December 2, 2011.