Council and councillor join battle in court over prayers

The practice of saying prayers at the start of council meetings is akin to councillors’ reading pornographic or racist material, lawyers for the National Secular Society (NSS) told the High Court last Friday.

The NSS and the former Bideford town councillor Clive Bone brought judicial-review proceedings against Bideford Town Council after coun­cillors there twice rejected Mr Bone’s request for prayers to be abolished. The council said that prayers were not compulsory, and that councillors who objected to the practice could either sit in silence or leave the room until prayers were completed.