The Archbishop of Canterbury has said the vote of the people must be respected and called for people to pray for “national agreement”. The Most Rev Justin Welby said on social media it was “easy to tell MPs how badly they are doing, easy to abuse and threaten”. But the archbishop said MPs “deserve respect” and urged people to pray for them and for a “decision that has widespread support”. He said: “It’s easy to tell MPs how badly they are doing, easy to abuse and threaten. But they have to decide for us and deserve respect. “Let us pray for them, for a decision that has widespread support and for a process that brings national agreement.”
Mr Welby added: “Reconciliation is less about agreeing than about finding out how to disagree well. We must respect the vote of the people and unite our country.” The archbishop told a House of Lords debate on leaving the EU “there is a requirement for national reconciliation”. Mr Welby told the Lords if both sides could not compromise then the country will face a no-deal Brexit. He added: “There has to be an agreement in which all accept the need to deliver ‘the will of the people’, as expressed in the referendum, while also recognising that when it was such a close result there is a duty to build in compromise, an inevitability, albeit unwelcome to some.
“If not there will be, by default, a no-deal Brexit. That outcome would be not only a political and practical failure but a moral one equally as serious as ignoring the result of the referendum entirely.” Mr Welby has also urged Remainers and Brexiteers to get together. The Church of England is aiming to get people who disagree over membership of the bloc to “chat over a cup of tea and pray for our country and our future”. It also tweeted that its “Lent Pilgrim reflection” for today was around extreme forgiveness and quoted Luke 23.32-43: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
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