Prayers to continue at council meetings

HORSHAM District Council is set to continue its practice of starting full council meetings with prayers.

A recent High Court ruling found prayers at council meetings were unlawful, when the National Secular Society brought a successful case against Bideford Town Council in Devon

However, local government secretary Eric Pickles rushed through new powers on Friday to overrule the court.

He signed a parliamentary order bringing forward a power from the Localism Act due to come into force in April that he said should mean council leaders had no fear of legal action.

A spokesperson for Horsham District Council said: “At Horsham District Council, prayers are not part of the formal business of the council.

“In summary, the Bideford decision and the action of the Secretary of State for Local Government at the weekend means that the council is entitled to continue its present practice. Members are free to take part if they wish to do so.”