Week in Westminster, 13th-17th May 2019

This week in the House of Lords bishops spoke about Brexit and the UK’s defence policy, and asked questions about apprenticeships, and children in forced marriages. In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered questions on Christian persecution in African countries, and aid to Sri Lanka.

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Bishop of St Albans asks about children and forced marriage

On 16th May 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on forced marriage and children:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans:  HL15521 To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many times in 2018 the Forced Marriage Unit provided advice or support on  forced marriage to (1) a person aged 15 or under, and (2) a person aged 16 or 17.

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Bishop of Portsmouth – we must not let Brexit dilute our moral purpose

On 15th May 2019, the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Horam, “That this House takes note of the Report from the European Union Committee Brexit: Common Security and Defence Policy missions and operations (16th Report, HL Paper 132).” The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke in the debate: 

19.04.02 Portsmouthb

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth:  My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Dannatt, has just reminded us that none of us participating in this debate can forget that we will shortly mark the 75th anniversary of what must surely be the most defining day in Europe in living memory: D-day. That has special significance for the city of Portsmouth, and indeed the whole diocese I serve. As a result, we will have the pleasure—I think—of welcoming the President of the United States into our midst as part of the commemorations.

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Que sera sera

Nick Baines's Blog

This is the script of this morning’s Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

I was checking my diary for this week when the news came in of the death of Doris Day. Whether it’s significant or not that this happened in Eurovision week, I have no idea. But, as we Brits will be exercising our foreign language skills again – nul points – in preparation for the big night, we might recall that it was Doris who introduced many of us to Spanish.

My late dad was a fan when we were kids and one of the first vinyl records he bought was one of her’s. And that’s where I heard Que sera sera – pronounced like a true Brit ever since. Que sera sera – what will be will be.

As a child I thought this was deep philosophy. You can’t change the future; what…

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Bishop of Portsmouth asks about bureaucracy in new apprenticeship system

On 13th May 2019 Lord Fox asked the Government “how many people are currently registered as undertaking (1) Intermediate, (2) Advanced, (3) Higher, and (4) Degree apprenticeships.” The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: Is the Minister aware—and, if not, I and perhaps other noble Lords are ready to give examples—of the bureaucratic burdens and delays being experienced? For universities, the added obligation to report to and share data with the Education and Skills Funding Agency, as well as the three usual reports, is exacerbated by an identical reporting requirement for levels 2 and 7, NVQ and postgraduate. The burden seems disproportionate. For large levy-payers, there are unexplained delays in approving new apprenticeship standards. Will the Minister urgently address these to improve take-up? Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks about bureaucracy in new apprenticeship system”

Church Commissioner written answers: Sri Lanka aid, Christian persecution in Africa

On 13th May 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered two written questions from Jim Shannon MP, on aid to Sri Lanka and on persecution of Christians in African countries:

Jim Shannon (Strangford): 252642 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to tackle the persecution of Christians in African countries; and what steps the Church of England is taking with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to highlight the persecution of Christians in those countries.

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Week in Westminster, 6th-10th May 2019

This week in the House of Lords bishops spoke about the toxic nature of much public debate, and welcomed new protective security funding for places of worship. They asked questions about modern slavery at car washes, the NHS and gambling related harm, diversity in public appointments, and biodegradable plastic bags. In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered questions from MPs on the Bishop of Truro’s review into persecuted Christians overseas, the attacks on Christian worshipers in Sri Lanka, and fire safety in cathedrals. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 6th-10th May 2019”