His Grace is delighted that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government agrees with him on the issue of statutory permission and prohibition. Speaking after the judgement restricting council prayers
, Eric Pickles said:
"This ruling is surprising and disappointing.
"While welcoming and respecting fellow British citizens who belong to other faiths, we are a Christian country, with an established Church in England, governed by the Queen.
"Christianity plays an important part in the culture, heritage and fabric of our nation. Public authorities - be it Parliament or a parish council - should have the right to say prayers before meetings if they wish.
"The right to worship is a fundamental and hard-fought British liberty.
"The Localism Act now gives councils a general power of competence - which allows them to undertake any general action that an individual could do unless it is specifically prohibited by law. Logically, this includes prayers before meetings."
Section 111 of the 1972 Local Government Act is HERE
, and the 2011 Localism Act general power of competence HERE
. If, as Mr Pickles says, the prayer competence is a matter of simple logic, His Grace looks forward to the appeal. If Bideford Town Council wish His Grace to open his collection plate for the relief of their local council tax payers, he would be delighted to do so.