News in brief
UK-EU trade talks are continuing; the deadline to agree an extension to the Brexit transition period is the end of June. Dave Borlase says: “The EU will no doubt use this virus to try to push back the end of year deadline. Pray for determination to see it through, and to find God’s Brexit, his best outcome for Britain.”
Church closures “unlawful and unnecessary”
The day after the Christian Legal Centre sent a letter signed by national leaders that threatened a judicial review against the government’s decision to keep churches shut, places of worship were allowed to open for private prayer from 15 June. The letter had referred to Magna Carta’s promise of a free Church.
Behavioural psychology in government
The Independent reported in April that the “dominant voices” advising the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) are “mathematical modellers and behavioural scientists”, rather than doctors and medical officers.
Concerns have been raised over a SAGE group advocating using the media to “increase [the] sense of personal threat” from coronavirus. A document from the SPI-B sub-group, published on the government website and dated 22 March, stated: “the perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased amongst those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional