Council scraps prayers

Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council in Somerset has scrapped prayers at the beginning of its meetings after a member of the public objected to them. In a letter to the Council, the unnamed constituent said: ''My reason for writing is my shock at being asked to stand up and participate in a prayer. In my opinion it was totally inappropriate and unacceptable to say Christian prayers at a council meeting. We live in a multi-ethnic, multi-religion society.”

Seven councillors voted to scrap the prayers, three were against and three abstained. During the 45-minute debate on the matter, Councillor Roy Jones said: “I am against the prayers. I find them embarrassing. As to the suggestion for a short silence, any reflection should be done at home before the meetings.”