Week in Westminster, 4th-8th November 2019

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This week in the House of Lords the Archbishop of Canterbury asked the Government about pressure on universities over antisemitism on campus. The Bishop of St Albans received answers from the Government regarding the welfare of Rohingya and Chin people in Myanmar and Bangladesh. The Bishop of Peterborough cited good examples of sustainable development and also paid tribute to one of the longest serving members of House of Lords staff. The Bishop of Durham asked about asylum and migration funding guarantees. The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman, answered a written question about theft from churches. 

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Bishop of Peterborough pays tribute to retiring Principal Doorkeeper

On 5th November 2019 the House of Lords paid tribute to Keith Phipps, Principal Doorkeeper and one of its longest-serving members of staff, on his retirement after 25 years of service. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, added his own words of appreciation:

Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, on behalf on these Benches I join in the tributes that others have paid. Each of us coming into the House has been greeted and welcomed. We have been guided, led in right directions and stopped from going in wrong ones, always with firmness and kindness. It is that kindness for which I thank Mr Phipps as I, like others, wish him a long, happy, healthy retirement.

via Parliament.uk

Bishop of Durham asks Government about pre-Brexit guarantees for Asylum, Migration and Integration funding

Durham040219On the 5th November the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer from the Government, in reply to his question about EU-related immigration funding:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL92 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what guarantee, if any, has been provided to charities and non-governmental organisations who currently receive funding from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund through the UK responsible authority rather than through direct bids to the European Commission. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about pre-Brexit guarantees for Asylum, Migration and Integration funding”

Bishop of St Albans asks about welfare of Rohingya people in Bangladesh

St Albans 2On 5th November 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer from the Government, in reply to his question about the Rohingya people:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL531 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the quality of the Rohingya people’s lives in Bangladesh.

Baroness Sugg: A June 2019 study by the Overseas Development Institute found that refugees felt that their lives would first and foremost be improved through education, then better living conditions, then the ability to support themselves. The study also describes the Rohingya people’s immediate concerns affecting their quality of life, including shelter conditions, lack of firewood or stoves, issues with healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene and protection support, inadequate food and insufficient supplies.

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Church Commissioners Written Answer: thefts from churches

On 5th November 2019, Dame Caroline Spelman, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, answered a written question from Gregory Campbell MP, about trends in thefts from churches:

Gregory Campbell (DUP): 4943 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of major property thefts from Churches in the last five years.

Dame Caroline Spelman: The Church of England does not hold data on thefts centrally, but it is kept by local police forces, Historic England and the insurance industry.

The most prominent form of property theft from churches is that of metal (mainly lead from roofs) and of historic building materials such as flagstones. These are items with a high resale value and which, once removed, can be difficult to identify as coming from a particular place.

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Bishop of Peterborough highlights value of sustainable farming and energy projects overseas

19.04.01 Peterborough bOn 4th November 2019 Baroness Jenkin of Kennington moved a motion that the House take note of the Government’s “international development work to promote the sustainable use of natural resources and prevent biodiversity loss”. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, contributed to the debate:

Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I too welcome this debate and the Prime Minister’s commitment to increased spending in this area. I also take note of, and agree with, the slight fear and concern of the noble Lord, Lord Bruce, that some of the money for this important work will be taken out of what ought to be spent on the relief of poverty and direct aid.

Three weeks ago I was in Israel, leading a pilgrimage looking at many of the sites mentioned in the Bible. One thing I came across that I had not seen there before but which was pointed out to me by various people was the fallow field—fields kept idle for a year to let the earth rest. I learned in geography lessons in my state county primary school around 1960 or 1961 that it was an important principle not only to rotate crops but to let the earth rest—in other words, not to squeeze everything out of it. I later discovered that this is part of the biblical teaching about the sabbath: not just that people and animals are to rest but that the earth also needs rest and recreation. That is why some farmers in Israel still practise that principle.

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Archbishop of Canterbury asks Government for pressure on universities over antisemitism on campus

Canterbury171018On 4th November 2019 Lord Leigh of Hurley asked the Government “how many universities in England have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism; and what steps they intend to take in respect of those which have not”. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I declare an interest as president of the Council of Christians and Jews, founded in the depths of the Second World War by Chief Rabbi Hertz and Archbishop William Temple. I applaud the noble Baroness’s long history of standing up for freedom of religion and belief. Like the noble Lord, the CCJ hears numerous reports of no-platforming, intimidation and lack of free speech. I fully accept that universities are autonomous, but will the Minister look for ways in which pressure can be applied to ensure that these standards are kept? Does she agree that mere exhortation is not really working?

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