Week in Westminster, 24th-28th February 2020

This week in Parliament the Bishop of Gloucester led a debate on early years interventions to help children and families, spoke during the passage of the Government’s Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill, and and also spoke in a debate on alternatives to prison custody for women who offend.

The Bishop of Worcester paid tribute to emergency service workers in response to recent flooding.

The Bishop of London asked a question about the affordability of housing. The Bishop of Durham asked a question about funding for refugee resettlement, and the Bishop of Peterborough asked Government about war widows’ pensions.

The Bishop of Southwark spoke in  debate on Israel & Palestine, and the latest US initiated peace plan.

The Bishop of Leeds responded to a Government statement on rough sleeping.

The Bishop of St Albans spoke in a debate about inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and received an answer to a written question about the impact of advertising to children.

The Second Church Estates Commissioner Andrew Selous took the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure through the House of Commons, and answered a written question on bats in churches. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 24th-28th February 2020”

Church Commissioners written answer: bats in churches

On 28th February 2020 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, answered a written question on bats in churches:
Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch): 19751 To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what (a) policy changes and (b) steps the Church of England is taking in relation to the 2019 survey of bats in churches undertaken with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Bishop of Southwark asks Government to extend full recognition to the Palestinian state

On 27th February 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Tonge, “To move that this House takes note of the United States’ proposals for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, announced on 28 January.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Tonge, for securing this important debate. I also express my gratitude to the Minister and to his officials for the careful but clear Answers to my Parliamentary Written Questions relevant to this debate that he gave on 11 and 13 February.​

Your Lordships’ House will be aware from my interventions in earlier debates that I am the only Anglican bishop who is a member of the Vatican-mandated Holy Land Co-ordination group, which visits Christian communities in Israel and Palestine every January. I also make at least one other visit to the region each year and will be on ecumenical pilgrimage there next week. Last year, I was also in Egypt with His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Archbishop of London, and other church leaders. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government to extend full recognition to the Palestinian state”

Bishop of Gloucester asks Government what is being done to support diversion and alternatives to custody for women

On 27th February 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Bates, “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the Checkpoint programme, run by Durham Constabulary, to reduce reoffending rates and custodial sentences.” The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I too would like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Bates, not least for his important mention of mercy, which is so important to me in my Christian faith. I too would like to commend the work of the Checkpoint programme, especially on behalf of my right reverend friend the Bishop of Durham, who also wanted to pay tribute to Ron Hogg—so it is good to have heard that. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks Government what is being done to support diversion and alternatives to custody for women”

Bishop of Leeds pays tribute to churches, faith groups and charities providing floating shelters

On 27th February 2020 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a Government statement on the latest rough sleeping annual statistics for 2019, and the approach of the Government. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I am grateful for that Statement and look forward to the review by Dame Louise Casey. Does the Minister agree that many elements of civil society, particularly churches, faith communities and charities, while waiting for this, are out on the streets almost every night? I refer to what we call floating shelters in many parts of the country through the winter months—which can be five months—which skew the figures a bit, because they take people off the streets. There are some excellent examples in my neck of the woods, where the churches host rough sleepers overnight and the mosques provide the curry. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds pays tribute to churches, faith groups and charities providing floating shelters”

Bishop of Gloucester leads debate on early years interventions to support children and families

On 27th February 2020 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, led a debate in the House of Lords on improving early years interventions to support children and families. Her opening speech and that of the Minister responding is below, and the whole debate including the speeches of all others taking part can be seen here.

Children and Families: Early Years Interventions

Motion to Take Note

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: That this House takes note of the case for improved early years interventions to support children and families. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester leads debate on early years interventions to support children and families”

Bishop of London asks Government if income instead of market value could be used to define affordability in housing

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, will the Minister say whether the Government are planning to look at different versions of what affordability might mean in relation to housing? I am sure noble Lords know that the West Midlands Combined Authority has been looking at income rather than market value. This has brought house prices within easier reach of more people in lower income brackets. Continue reading “Bishop of London asks Government if income instead of market value could be used to define affordability in housing”