Welcome to the Church of England’s weekly round-up of activity in Parliament.
This week, bishops in the House of Lords spoke in debates about the UK’s membership of the European Union, the Consumer Rights Bill and the role of religion and belief in British public life. They also took part in a division on the Government’s Consumer Rights Bill.
They also asked questions about Universal Credit, the Work Capability Assessment, domestic abuse, South Sudan and energy prices.
In the House of Commons, the Second Church Estates Commissioner asked a question about funding for cathedrals.
Monday 24th November
The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question about the housing element of Universal Credit.
Three bishops took part in a division on the Government’s Consumer Rights Bill, on an amendment to remove the requirement for trading standards officers to give 48 hours notice before inspecting businesses. The amendment was not accepted, with the Government winning the vote by a majority of 26.
Tuesday 25th November
The Bishop of St Albans received an answer to a written question on the administering of the Work Capability Assessment for those suffering from mental health problems.
On International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, asked a question about greater training for the police to deal with cases of domestic abuse.
The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, took part in Lord Liddle’s debate on the UK’s membership of the European Union. The bishop spoke about the need to better understand the EU as an institution of peace and reconciliation and the role of the church in creating space for the public to debate seriously the UK’s membership.
Wednesday 26th November
Speaking on behalf of the Bishop of Truro, the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, led debates on two amendments to the Government’s Consumer Rights Bill. The amendments sought to improve the regulation of payday loan advertising. Neither amendments were accepted, the first having been defeated in a division of the House (Government majority: 16).
Thursday 27th November
The Bishop of Birmingham and the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, took part in a debate in the House of Lords on the role of religion and belief in British public life. The Bishop of Birmingham spoke about the practice of lived religion in ordinary communities across the country, focusing on the high levels of volunteering undertaken by faith communities. The Bishop of Norwich spoke on themes of trust and a vocation to service in public life.
In the House of Commons, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, asked a supplementary question about funding for cathedrals.