The holding of daily Prayers is primarily a matter for the House. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House responded to a question for written answer from the hon. Member for Walsall North (Mr Winnick) on 10 February, and the hon. Member for Orpington (Joseph Johnson) raised the matter during a debate in Westminster Hall on parliamentary reform on 3 February.
It has been suggested in debate that Prayers should either be abolished or moved from the main Chamber on the grounds that they take up a valuable three minutes of our time. Will the Deputy Leader of the House reject this notion, and say that, whatever one’s religious views—or lack thereof—apart from the fact that they are beautiful poetry, what is wrong with meditating on things other than politics for three minutes a day? Anyway, our wonderful Chaplain does them very beautifully.
I know that many right hon. and hon. Members value the few moments that the House spends in prayer at the beginning of each daily sitting. I repeat that I do not think that it is a matter for the Government; it is for the House. I am sure, Mr Speaker, that you will have heard the point made by the hon. Gentleman.