Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti has called for churches to be reopened at Easter.

The MP has written to Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, asking for a 'temporary relaxation of restrcitions'.

In the letter he said: "It is approaching Easter, one of the most important events in the Christian calendar, where Christians celebrate renewal and hope for a brighter future.

"I firmly believe a temporary relaxation of restrictions, allowing for people to attend church to engage in private prayer whilst observing social distancing would be an appropriate compromise. 

"If the Government allows me to go to an off licence, a takeaway, or a local shop on Easter Sunday, provided I observe social distancing or take other necessary precautions why can I not go to church and say a prayer, providing I do the same?"

Earlier Mr Lopresti shared an article from the Telegraph calling for churches to be reopened on his Twitter feed.

It has been written by Michael Nazir-Ali, former bishop of Rochester, and states: "Going to church is not the same as going to a pub or a football match.

"Provided that safe distancing is possible and is maintained, this is exactly the time when people will feel the need to go."

Ex-footballer Peter Reid and folk singer Grace Petrie have been among those to condemn the MP's tweet, which appears to contradict the government's current lockdown regulations.

Labour councillor Mhairi Threlfall, who stood against Mr Lopresti in last year's general election, called the tweet 'shockingly dangerous'.

Numerous churches have held online services since coronavirus restrictions were put in place. 

Mr Lopresti's office have been approached for comment.