Week in Westminster, 8th-12th January 2018

This week in the House of Lords bishops led a debate on the situation of ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq, welcomed a Government Bill to help victims of domestic violence and spoke in debates on social media and housebuilding. They asked questions about homelessness, child refugees, and the probation service. In the House of Commons, the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered a written question about Scrooby parish church. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 8th-12th January 2018”

Bishop of Coventry leads debate on the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in post-conflict Iraq

On 1th January 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, led a debate in the House of Lords on the question: “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their post-conflict strategy for protecting the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq.” His speech is reproduced in full below, as is that of the Government minister responding. All speeches by those taking part in the debate can be read here.

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, imagine what it was like, having been hounded out of one’s home when Daesh took control of Mosul, to be back there on Christmas Eve among 2,000 worshippers for the first celebration of the Mass in three and a half years. But then imagine the scene only hours afterwards— ​not only the church but also the city again almost entirely bereft of Christians because it is still not safe enough for them to return permanently.

What can be done to give Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Sabeans, Yarsanis, Shabaks and other vulnerable religious and ethnic communities in Iraq confidence that they have a future in their own land—and why is it vital for that land and that region that their confidence is regained? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry leads debate on the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in post-conflict Iraq”

Bishop of Gloucester urges greater requirements for online platforms to identify and remove harmful content

On 11th January 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Kidron “That this House takes note of the role played by social media and online platforms as news and content publishers.” The Bishop of Gloucester spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, for obtaining this debate. I, too, thank her for her tireless work in this area.

Social media and online platforms now play an enormous role in shaping national dialogue and accepted social standards. In my visits to primary schools and secondary schools in the diocese of Gloucester, I have spent time talking with children about social media, and I affirm all that is good. Yet, as children progress to secondary school, their view of themselves and the world is increasingly being shaped by social media and online platforms. Young people are receiving strong messages about worth being about looking a certain way and about success being measured in online likes. Furthermore, their fears about the world they are growing up in are being fuelled by what they read online. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester urges greater requirements for online platforms to identify and remove harmful content”

Bishop of Newcastle says housing shortage must be tackled by helping small builders and lifting restrictions on local authorities to borrow and build

On Thursday 11th January 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Best, “That this House takes note of the performance of the United Kingdom’s major housebuilders.” The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, it may be no coincidence of timing that as we debate the performance of the major housebuilders, every day this week in the financial press we have seen the trading results of many of these major companies, the latest being Barratt this morning, the country’s largest housebuilder. There is a consistent picture of extraordinarily high levels of profit and cash being returned to shareholders. However, my first point is that past history tells us this will not last. Housebuilding is a highly cyclical industry and when the next recession comes, new house sales will plummet, as they did in ​2003 and 2008. Housebuilders, especially the smaller ones, will fail, and there will be high unemployment in the building trades. Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle says housing shortage must be tackled by helping small builders and lifting restrictions on local authorities to borrow and build”

Church Commissioners’ answer: Scrooby Parish Church

On 11th January 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman, answered a written question from John Mann MP about St. Wilfrid’s Church, Scrooby:

John Mann (Bassetlaw): To ask the hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress has been made on securing visitor toilets for Scrooby church. 121283
Continue reading “Church Commissioners’ answer: Scrooby Parish Church”

Bishop of St Albans asks about help for homeless care leavers and ex-offenders

On 10th January 2018 the Bishop ofSt Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to two questions on rough sleeping in London by care leavers and ex-offenders:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: 

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the finding of the APPG on Homelessness that, between January and March, 11 per cent of rough sleepers in London were care leavers; and what assessment they have made of the quality of housing support provision for care leavers. HL4372

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the finding of the APPG on Homelessness that, between January and March, 37 per cent of rough sleepers in London had experience of being in prison; and what assessment they have made of housing support provision for ex-offenders. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about help for homeless care leavers and ex-offenders”

Bishop of Gloucester supports Government Bill to aid victims of domestic violence

On Tuesday 9th January 2018 the House of Lords debated at Second Reading the Government’s ‘Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill [HL]’. The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, welcomed the Bill:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: I wish to comment only briefly today, first by paying tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, for her work on this issue and by thanking both her and my right reverend friend the Bishop of St Albans for their initial work during the passage of the Housing and Planning Act. Secondly, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, for his commitment to addressing this issue. I also need to declare an interest as an ambassador for the charity Restored, an international Christian alliance that seeks to end violence against women.

As has been said, domestic abuse of any sort is demeaning, degrading and something that no one should have to endure. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester supports Government Bill to aid victims of domestic violence”