Welcome to the Church of England’s weekly round-up of activity in Parliament.
This week, bishops in the House of Lords took part in debates on the Government’s Social Action, Responsibility & Heroism Bill and asked questions on Higher Education, abortion and dog licensing. They also received written answers to questions on under-age marriage, violence against women, prostitution and drink-driving. In the House of Commons MPs congratulated Rev Libby Lane on her appointment as the new Bishop of Stockport. The Second Church Estates Commissioner also welcomed the introduction of the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill by Government, aimed at expediting the arrival of the first female diocesan bishops to the House of Lords.
Parliament has now risen for the Christmas recess and will return on 5th January (Lords on the 6th).
On Wednesday 17th December 2014 it was announced by Downing Street that the Rev Libby Lane had been nominated to be the next Bishop of Stockport, making her the first woman to be appointed as a bishop in the Church of England. MPs joined those across the country in offering their congratulations.
At Questions to the Leader of the House of Commons on 18th December 2014, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Tony Baldry MP, welcomed the introduction by Government of the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill:
Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury) (Con): May I welcome the publication today of the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill, which will provide the opportunity to fast-track into the House of Lords women consecrated as diocesan bishops?
On 17th December 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith received answers to two written questions, on lowering the drink-drive limit:
On 17th December 2014 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on criminalising the purchase of sex: