Church Commissioner questions: Israel/Palestine, human trafficking, prisons, social media, low carbon economy, tourism, lead theft

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On 19th January 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions in the House of Commons from MPs on Israel/Palestine, human trafficking, prisons, social media, low carbon economy, tourism and lead theft. The transcript is below:

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Higher Education and Research Bill: Bishop of Portsmouth moves amendment on support for students with disabilities

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portsmouth-180117-bOn 18th January 2016, the House of Lords considered the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill in Committee. The Bishop of Portsmouth spoke to propose an amendment on behalf of the Bishop of Ely about giving special consideration for those with disabilities within the criteria for approving and reviewing student protection plans. The amendment was withdrawn after the debate, following encouragement from the Minister that the issue deserved greater inspection. Below is his speech and a section of the Minister’s reply.

The Lord the Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, my colleague and right reverend friend the Bishop of Ely is unable to be in his place, but has asked me to bring before your Lordships Amendment 134A. I and he welcome the Minister’s assurances thus far for disabled students. It is very welcome that he intends to publish guidance to ensure that higher education institutions are best able to fulfil their duties to disabled students.

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Archbishop of York supports Neighbourhood Planning Bill

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york-170117-cOn 17th January 2017, the Government’s Neighbourhood Planning Bill had its Second Reading in the House of Lords. The Archbishop of York, Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu, spoke to express his support for the broad principles of the Bill.

The Archbishop of York My Lords, I hope I will not abuse the great privilege you have given me by allowing me, as the 24th speaker, to speak in the gap.

I support the Bill because of the three areas it covers: neighbourhood planning, local development plans and compulsory purchase. Continue reading

Archbishop of York asks Government about situation of those seeking asylum in the UK after Brexit

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Archbishop of York – free trade must also be fair trade

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york-170117-bOn 17th January, Viscount Ridley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to celebrate the bicentenary of David Ricardo’s principle of comparative advantage, and the case for free trade”. The Archbishop of York, Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu, asked a follow up question. 

The Archbishop of York Does the Minister agree that the principle of comparative advantage works only if trade is not only free but also fair? Continue reading

Week in Westminster, 9th-13th January 2017

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Westminster-abbeyWelcome to the Church of England’s weekly round-up of activity in Parliament.

This week in the House of Lords bishops hosted a debate on armed forces welfare, sponsored an amendment to the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill, and spoke in debates about the armed forces, the north of England and the situation of the Rohingya Muslim people in Burma. They also asked questions about underage online gambling, the situation of UK and EU nationals after Brexit and the safety of people returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered a question about churchyard biodiversity in the Blackburn Diocese.
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Bishop of Portsmouth calls for review of defence priorities in light of changing global situation

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On the 12th January Lord Robertson of Port Ellen hosted a debate “that this House takes note of the future capability of the United Kingdom’s armed forces in the current international situation”. The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster,  highlighted the need for a new Strategic Defence and Security Review, alongside recognition of new partnership and leadership roles.

BishPortsspeechtaxcreditsThe Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, agree with it or not, Brexit was a decision to determine our own path. This debate requires us to consider critically whether we have the capacity to determine our own strategic path in the realm of defence and security. The extent of our global reach must reflect our economic and strategic interests as well as our security and military concerns in these changing times, which now make these considerations, as one analyst has put it, “supercharged”.

My anxiety is that there is a gap, if not sometimes a gulf, between rhetoric about our concerns and ambitions on the one hand and our constrained capability on the other.

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