Week in Westminster, 18th-22nd June 2018

This week in the House of Lords bishops spoke about the report of the Gosport Independent Panel and asked questions about mental health services in rural areas, immigration removals, the two-child limit for benefits, personal independence payments, and attacks on Christians in Myanmar. Three bishops voted on an amendment to the Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill.  Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 18th-22nd June 2018”

Bishop of Southwark asks Government about historic immigration removals

On 21st June 2018 the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received a written answer to a question on historic immigration removals:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark:  To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Statement by the Secretary of State for the Home Department on 24 May (HCWS722), how many non-documented Commonwealth citizens, other than those from Caribbean nations, have been removed from the UK while claiming to have been settled here (1) on 1 January 1973, and (2) between 1973 and 1988. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about historic immigration removals”

Bishops of Lincoln and Coventry respond to Government statement on Gosport Independent Panel report

On 20th June 2018 a Government statement about the Gosport Independent panel, chaired by the former Bishop of Liverpool, was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishops of Lincoln and Coventry spoke after the statement to ask questions of the Minister. Their exchanges are below:

The Lord Bishop of Lincoln: My Lords, I declare an interest as my wife is a lead clinician in the office of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. My friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Portsmouth cannot be in his place today as he is in his cathedral church with the families of those whose loved ones were patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, as they properly received the report prior to it being laid before Parliament. On his behalf, and sharing his profound concern and with some anger as a vicar and archdeacon in that area at that time, I politely remind the Minister of the evidence of disregard for human life, a culture of deliberately shortening life, and a regime of systematic overuse of opioids and of the way in which those raising concerns were treated as troublemakers. Continue reading “Bishops of Lincoln and Coventry respond to Government statement on Gosport Independent Panel report”

Bishop of Lincoln asks Government about mental health provision in rural areas

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On 20th June 2018 Lord Cotter asked Her Majesty’s Government “what proportion of mental health treatment is funded by the National Health Service nationally as against local funding.” The Bishop of Lincoln, Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Lincoln: My Lords, I speak for one of the most rural parts of England. Does the Minister recognise the higher level of suicide in rural areas? In part, this is due to rural isolation and the sparsity of mental health provision. What plans do the Government have to increase local and accessible provision in these areas? Continue reading “Bishop of Lincoln asks Government about mental health provision in rural areas”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about attacks on Christians in north of Myanmar

On 20th June 2018 the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question about attacks by the Myanmar military on the Christian Kachin people:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Myanmar following reports of attacks by the Myanmar military on the Christian Kachin people in the north of Myanmar. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about attacks on Christians in north of Myanmar”

Bishop of Durham asks Government to hire more Personal Independence Payment assessors with expertise in mental health

On 19th June 2018 Baroness Thomas of Winchester asked Her Majesty’s Government “what action they intend to take to improve the outcome of Personal Independence Payment assessments in the light of the increasing number of successful appeals.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, personal independence payments make a significant difference to those living with mental health difficulties. Sadly, ​Mind found that only 8% of the 800 it surveyed felt that the assessor understood their mental health and 90% felt that the claims process itself had a negative impact on their well-being. Will Her Majesty’s Government require assessment providers to ensure that they hire more assessors with proper experience of working with people with mental health issues, and audit the quality of the mental health training? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government to hire more Personal Independence Payment assessors with expertise in mental health”

Vote: EU (Withdrawal) Bill

On 18th June 2018 the EU (Withdrawal) Bill returned to the House of Lords for consideration of the Commons amendments. Viscount Hailsham tabled an amendment on a  ‘meaningful vote’ for MPs in a no-deal scenario. The Bishops of Durham, Lincoln and Worcester voted on the amendment: Continue reading “Vote: EU (Withdrawal) Bill”