Church of England Week in Westminster, 23 – 27 June 2014

Welcome to the Church of England’s weekly round-up of activity in Parliament by the Lords Spiritual and the Second Church Estates Commissioner.

In the past week, bishops in the House of Lords have spoken in debate on the accountability of educational institutions, defibrillators in public spaces, the commemoration of the First World War, the role of the voluntary and charitable sector, women in the prison system, human rights in Egypt, the abuse of vulnerable children and adults and challenges faced by vulnerable women.

They have also put questions to the Government on the under-occupancy charge, off-grid energy supply, wage levels of women in the UK, apprenticeships and Iran.

In the House of Commons, the Second Church Estates Commissioner spoke about the teaching of British values.

Tuesday 24 June

‘Under-occupancy Charge’ – Oral question

Bishop of St AlbansBaroness Quin asked Her Majesty’s Government when they expect to publish their interim review on the under-occupancy charge. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd. Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question which can be read here

 

Autonomy and accountability of educational institutions – Debate01.04.14 Bishop of Birmingham

The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd. David Urquhart, took part in Baroness Perry of Southwark’s debate to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the appropriate balance between the autonomy and the accountability of educational institutions. The Bishop spoke of his involvement in the investigation of allegations of mis-management in schools in Birmingham.

The Bishop told the House how autonomy and accountability have been reconciled in Birmingham through setting up a diocesan board of education trust which has published an academies accountability framework. The Bishop argued for local and trusted arrangements to be developed, which are trusted by pupils, staff and parents, by the whole community and the Secretary of State.

A full transcript of the speech is available here

 

Defibrillators in public spaces – Debate

Bishop of St AlbansThe Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd. Alan Smith took part in Lord Storey’s short debate to ensure that all schools, sports clubs and public service buildings have defibrillators as part of their first-aid kit provision.

The Bishop expressed his desire to see a greater number of defibrillators in public spaces including churches and church halls. Bishop Alan commended the work of charities such as the British Heart Foundation and the Community Heartbeat trust as well as the efforts of the community first responders.

A full transcript of the speech is available here

 

Off-grid energy supply – Written Question

The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd. Alan Smith, received an answer to a written question on off-grid energy supply. The original questions, and their answers from the Government Minister are available here

 

 

Wednesday 25 June

Archbishop of YorkFall in wages of women in the United Kingdom – Oral Question

Labour Peer Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking to address any fall in wages of women in the United Kingdom. The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd. and Rt Hon John Sentamu, asked a supplementary question which can be read here

 

First World War Commemoration and the role of the Church – DebateLondon

The Bishop of London the Rt Rev. & Rt Hon Richard Chartres took part in Lord Gardiner of Kimble’s debate to take note of the programme to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

The Bishop said, “It is obvious that we cannot change the past, but we are responsible for how we remember it. Memory—and its more active form, commemoration—is certainly more than just lifting down a file and recalling a past event: it is a creative and responsible art which involves highlighting certain features and identifying significant resonances”

A full transcript of the speech is available here

 

Teaching of British values – Debate

14.03.20 WH debateThe Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, took part in a Westminster Hall debate on the teaching of British values.

Taking inspiration from a speech made by Her Majesty the Queen at an event at Lambeth Palace, he spoke of the significant role played by the Church of England in creating and sustaining a space in society for the flourishing of those of all religions and those with no religious beliefs. He reflected on the Judeo-Christian values underpinning British society and the importance of tolerance and mutual respect in fostering good relations in communities and throughout society.

A full transcript of the speech is available here

 

Apprenticeships and Iran – Written Questions

Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans received three written answers, on apprenticeship data and on the events in Evin Prison, Iran. The original questions, and their answers from the Government Minister are available here

 

Thursday 26 June

Role of voluntary and charitable sector – Debate

The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd. Alastair Redfern, took part in Baroness Scott of Needham Market’s take note debate on the role played by the voluntary and charitable sectors.

DerbyThe Bishop said, “We do not look just to our neighbours but to strangers. We are not just interested in economic viability but in what is morally right. That is where the energy of the charity sector comes from, and why there is that great British tradition we have heard of—not because it is economically efficient but because it is morally right”

A full transcript of the speech is available here

 

Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults – Debate14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd. Paul Butler took part in  Baroness Walmsley’s debate on the measures being taken by Her Majesty’s Government to prevent and address the abuse of children and vulnerable adults.

The Bishop said, “Powerful people have engaged in serious abuse and have worked with each other to create opportunities and share their vices and victims. As a nation we have to face up to the seriousness of institutionally based abuse against the most vulnerable in our society, both children and adults, which has gone on in the past and, sadly, continues today”

A full transcript of the speech is available here

 

Women: Custodial Sentences – DebateBishop of Rochester

The Bishop of Rochester and Bishop to HM Prisons, the Rt Revd. James Langstaff, took part in Baroness Healy of Primrose Hill’s short debate on the measures being taken to reduce the number of women given custodial sentences.

The Bishop said, “It is undoubtedly the case that the female prison population disproportionately includes those who face huge challenges in their lives. It is also clear that prison is not the best place to address many of the issues that these people face”

A full transcript of the speech is available here

 

Human rights situation in Egypt – Debate

13.10 Bishop of CoventryThe Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd. Christopher Cocksworth, led a short debate to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the human rights situation in Egypt.

The Bishop said, “Instances of violence and physical intimidation against Coptic Christians remain disturbingly high. Police investigations are haphazard and prosecutions rare. In addition to the targeted attacks against Christians, we are, sadly, witnessing a predictable return to the subtler, pernicious problems of the Sadat-Mubarak era”

A full transcript of the speech is available here

 

Challenges faced by vulnerable women – Debate

Bishop of St AlbansThe Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Alan Smith took part in Baroness Tyler of Enfield’s debate to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to improve how local services respond to women with multiple and complex needs including homelessness, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and physical and mental health problems.

The Bishop said, “It is vital that councils and the NHS maintain a basic level of support, not least because a lot of money going into this area is matched by funding from companies, charities and churches. We cannot solve the problem with just the voluntary sector being expected to pick up these extraordinarily complex problems”

A full transcript of the speech is available here