Church of England Diocese of Guildford Dunsfold


1 Jul 2021, noon

It will not have passed unnoticed by frustrated choristers that 40,000-plus fans were inside Wembley this week to watch, sing and celebrate England's victory over Germany in the European Championships.

It was a landmark win that has delighted the nation but also prompted challenges to the lockdown rules that continue to stifle the freedom of church choirs to assemble and sing.

Lady Barran (pictured), a government culture minister, attempted to defend the lockdown rules for choirs on Wednesday. Amateur choirs are limited to no more than six people indoors or 30 outdoors.

The contrast between this and the football fans who failed to recognise any suggestion of social distancing could not have been more acute. Members of the Lords made clear their disagreement with Lady Barran.

Lord Berkeley insisted it was mad to treat amateur choirs differently from professional singers, particularly while football fans were "singing, kissing, hugging and chanting."

It is claimed that Labour, Tory, Liberal and cross benchers, and many MPs, agree on this matter. But many prefer to keep their views private - at the moment.

Lady Wheatcroft, the former editor of the Sunday Telegraph, wondered what would happen if someone broke the rules. Lady Barran didn't know.