Votes: EU (Future Relationship) Bill

On 30th December 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s European Union (Future Relationship) Bill at all stages. Three votes were held on the Bill, in which bishops took part:

Continue reading “Votes: EU (Future Relationship) Bill”

EU (Future Relationship) Bill: Bishop of Southwark welcomes deal, stresses interdependence of people and nations

On 30th December 2020 the House of Lords considered all stages of the Government’s European Union (Future Relationship) Bill. The Bishop of Southwark spoke at Second Reading:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I am glad to follow the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Brockwell, and agree with much of what he said. I congratulate Her Majesty’s Government on achieving a negotiated outcome with the European Union. In doing so, I pay tribute not only to the Prime Minister but to the negotiating team, which bore a weighty burden, the Civil Service support that provided them with necessary expertise and, last but not least, the chief negotiator the noble Lord, Lord Frost.

The wider debate requires a candid and truthful recognition of what has been a complex process, including an explicit acknowledgement that a successful negotiation requires significant compromise. Such truthful recognition makes for good civil discourse. This will be further helped by more accurate language about the good and less good aspects of the package and appropriate scrutiny of detail—sadly not possible today. I hope that the public debate is less about the intangibles of rhetoric and more about the true and honest cost of the investment, outreach and spiritual renewal needed if we are to flourish as a nation state, going forward.

My final point begins with comments from the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams of Oystermouth, recently retired from this House, who, early in the pandemic, spoke of what has become a much wider perception that our lives are bound together with those of every human being on this planet. That, he said, poses “the biggest moral questions”. A more positive focus on our continuing interdependence, not least with other European nations but more widely—globally—would be welcome and herald the future partnerships that are so essential to our national well-being.

Therefore, I hope that, as we consider the Bill and continue the shared endeavour that is our proud national story, we recognise that people and institutions flourish best under relational frameworks and that individualism, freed of obligation or collective provision, will ultimately fail. We are still in the season of Christmas, and the birth of a saviour transcends all national boundaries with a message of peace and good will to all people.

Bishop of Durham asks about development, environment and prosperity in Burundi, Lesotho and Rwanda

On 30th December the Bishop of Durham received written answers to questions about Burundi, Lesotho and Rwanda and the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index 2020:

 The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Legatum Institute The Legatum Prosperity Index 2020, published on 16 November; and in particular that report’s findings that Burundi is (1) 157th out of 167 countries ranked in terms of overall prosperity, and (2) among the top 10 worst countries in the world in the categories of (a) economic quality, (b) living conditions, and (c) health. [HL11204] Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about development, environment and prosperity in Burundi, Lesotho and Rwanda”

Bishop of Worcester asks Government about plans to consult on, assess impact, and set time limit for reduction in overseas aid

On 30th December the Bishop of Worcester received written answers to five questions on Government plans to reduce the overseas aid budget:

The Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to consult with (1) civil society, (2) faith groups, and (3) other humanitarian actors, before drafting any legislation to amend the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015. [HL11257] Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester asks Government about plans to consult on, assess impact, and set time limit for reduction in overseas aid”

Bishop of St Albans asks about gambling, credit cards, young people

On 30th December the Bishop of St Albans received written answers to questions on gambling; use of credit cards, young people, and conflicts of interest of firms bidding for contracts to treat people with mental health issues:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Government Response to the House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee Report: Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry, published on 8 December, what plans they have to mandate a ban on all gambling transactions via credit cards. [HL11492] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about gambling, credit cards, young people”

Bishop of St Albans asks about HSBC, China and Hong Kong democracy campaigners

On 30th December the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to questions on HSBC, China and democracy campaigners in Hong Kong:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the relationship between HSBC Bank and the Chinese Communist Party. [HL11375]

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to HSBC Bank following that bank’s suspension of the bank accounts of pro-democracy campaigners from Hong Kong. [HL11376] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about HSBC, China and Hong Kong democracy campaigners”

Bishop of Durham asks about right to work for asylum seekers

On 30th December the Bishop of Durham received a written answer to a question on emplo0yment for those seeking asylum:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 3 November (HL9361), what plans they have to provide an update on when the review into the right to work of asylum seekers will be laid before the House. [HL11207] Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about right to work for asylum seekers”

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about rise in abortions and link to two-child benefit limit

On 30th December the Bishop of Coventry received written answers to three questions on abortion and the two-child benefit limit:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the reported rise in the number of abortions among women with two or more children. [HL11398] Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about rise in abortions and link to two-child benefit limit”

Bishop of St Albans asks about monetary policy, car finance schemes

On 30th December the Bishop of St Albans received written answers to questions on monetary policy, and care finance schemes:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 3 December (HL10488) and the exchange of letters between the Bank of England and HM Treasury on the Asset Purchase Facility on 29 January 2009, whether the Monetary Policy Committee still requires the consent of HM Treasury to engage in quantitative easing through the Asset Purchase Facility. [HL11242]

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 3 December (HL10488) and the exchange of letters between the Bank of England and HM Treasury on the Asset Purchase Facility on 29 January 2009, what assessment they have made of the implications of the confirmation in these letters that the financing of the Asset Purchase Facility by central bank money would require HM Treasury consent for the question of whether it is appropriate for the Government to comment on the effectiveness of quantitative easing; and what assessment they have made of the effects of quantitative easing on the increase in house prices compared to increases in wages. [HL11243] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about monetary policy, car finance schemes”

Week in Westminster, 14th-18th December 2020

Parliament met in Westminster and online this week. The Bishop of Southwark was on duty in the House of Lords and read prayers at the start of each sitting day.

He asked a question on the impact of Covid-19 on the cultural industries, the need for vaccinations for prison staff and inmates, and housing needs of asylum seekers with disabilities.

The Bishop of Durham asked about child poverty and lower life expectancies in the north-east, and received written answers on the need for a Universal Credit uplift.

The Bishop of Oxford welcomed Government plans to tackle online harms.

The Bishop of St Albans asked Government about gambling related harms, and UK supply chain connections to firms involved in Chinese suppression of Uighurs. He received written answers to questions on hospice funding, and fly-tipping.

The Bishop of Salisbury raised the Government’s missed targets for tree planting, welcomed the Energy White Paper and asked about the use of churches as electric vehicle charge points.

The Bishop of Gloucester received written answers to questions on pregnant women and mothers in prison, and the impact on families of the remand backlog.

Bishops took part in votes on the UK Internal Market Bill.

Parliament rose for the Christmas recess on 17th December, to return in January.