Church of England Week in Westminster, 25th-29th January 2016

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Welcome to the Church of England’s weekly round-up of activity in Parliament.

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This week the Bishop of  Newcastle was Introduced to the Lords and took her seat as the Second female Lord Spiritual, supported by the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Southwark.

Bishops tabled, spoke to and voted on amendments to the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill (including successfully passing an amendment on child poverty reporting). Bishops also spoke during debates on the Government’s Housing and Planning Bill, local democracy and education and lifelong learning. They also asked questions about private sponsorship for unaccompanied child refugees, the ‘family test’, Christian-Muslim relations, junior doctors’ pay, prepaid energy meters and on forestry. The Bishop of Durham also led debates to approve two Church of England Measures – on safeguarding and diocesan finance.


Monday 25th January

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5The Bishop of Durham successfully passed an amendment to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill on reporting child poverty. He also spoke in support of an amendment on life chances. The Bishop of St Albans supported an amendment on disability reporting. Bishops took part in Divisions on the Bill.

The Bishop of St Albans asked a question about forestry. The Bishop of Durham responded to a Government statement on unaccompanied child refugees.


Tuesday 26th January

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The Bishop of Newcastle was  Introduced to the Lords and took her seat.

The Bishop of Worcester asked a question about the Government’s family test. The Archbishop of York also asked about family policy.

The Bishop of Rochester and the Bishop of St Albans both spoke in the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Housing and Planning Bill.


Wednesday 27th January

The Bishop of Worcester asked a question about Christian-Muslim relations.

The Bishop of Chester asked a question about junior doctors’ pay.

BishPortsspeechtaxcreditsThe Bishop of Portsmouth spoke to amendments he had tabled to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill on exemptions to the two-child limit. The Bishop of Durham also spoke in favour of the amendments, as well as to others on supported housing.

The Bishop of st Albans supported amendments on the Employment Support Allowance.


Thursday 28th January

The Bishop of St Albans asked a question about prepaid energy meters.

Derby 191115cThe Bishop of Durham and the Bishop of Derby both spoke in a debate on local democracy.

The Bishop of Derby also spoke in a debate on education and lifelong learning.

The Bishop of Durham led a debate to approve Church of England Measures on safeguarding and on diocesan finance.


Friday 29th January

Chelmsford 251115The Bishop of Chelmsford spoke in support of a Bill to raise the age of criminal responsibility.

Bishop of Chelmsford supports Bill to raise age of criminal responsibility

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On 29th January 2016 the House of Lords debated at Second Reading the Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill – a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Dholakia. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, spoke in the debate, supporting the objective of the Bill to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12 years. The Bill was given a Second Reading and proceeded to its next parliamentary stage.

Chelmsford 251115The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, in rising to support the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia—and, indeed, pledging the support of the church to this campaign—I need to declare an interest: I was a child once and got into some scrapes. Now I am a parent and in the work I do hardly a week goes by when I am not in schools. Indeed, last year I had the sad but very moving honour of opening a garden of remembrance in the diocese where I serve in east London for young people who were the victims of, indeed had been killed by, knife crime. So I do not underestimate the seriousness of the crimes that we are talking about, nor the fact that children and young people do commit them. Continue reading

Lords approves Diocesan Stipends Funds (Amendment) Measure

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On January 28th 2016 the House of Lords debated and passed the Church of England Diocesan Stipends Funds (Amendment) Measure. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, led the short debate and a transcript is below: 

 

Moved by The Lord Bishop of Durham

That this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Diocesan Stipends Funds (Amendment) Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent.

Bp Durham June 2015 bThe Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, this is a very short and technical draft measure. It amends the Diocesan Stipends Funds Measure 1953 to ensure that diocesan boards of finance have the same powers to make decisions about the balance of investments in the diocesan stipends fund that they have in relation to their other charitable property. Continue reading

Lords approves CofE Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure – Bishop of Durham leads debate

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On 28th January 2016 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, moved a motion that the House of Lords approve the Church of England’s Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure. Peers gave approval to the Measure, following a short debate – the full transcript of which is below.


Moved by The Lord Bishop of Durham

That this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent.

Bp Durham June 2015 bThe Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure is set in the context of our commitment, as the Church of England, to keep becoming a safer church. The Measure itself is only one part of all the work that we are undertaking. The Measure is before your Lordships because the church believes it needs to improve its statutory arrangements: first, to prevent the abuse of children and adults at risk within the church community; and, secondly, to deal effectively with those in authority within the church who seek to harm children and vulnerable adults. Continue reading

Bishop of Derby speaks on role of education and lifelong learning

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On 28th January 2016 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Sharp of Guildford “that this House takes note of the role of adult education and lifelong learning and the need to develop the skills needed to strengthen the United Kingdom economy.” The Bishop of Dery, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate.

Derby 191115cThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, for introducing the debate and from these Benches I want to pay tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Williams. From our perspective she has continually shown a very special and thoughtful faith—faith in people, faith in politics and faith in goodness. That is the kind of model that we all need to aspire to, and the noble Baroness has certainly been a great inspiration to me and to many of my colleagues.

I want to look at skills and the strengthening of the UK economy. We have heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, and others about the skills shortage, which is much in evidence. There is a clear mismatch between the needs of business and learning provision. We have heard about the dramatic decline in the number of places for part-time study, and I think that a strong case can be made for earn-as-you-learn opportunities for people at every stage, especially as employment is now such a variable journey for so many people. Continue reading

Bishop of Derby speaks in debate on local democracy

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On 28th January 2016 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Shipley “that this House takes note of local democracy in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate.

Derby 191115cLord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, it is a great privilege on behalf of the House to welcome the noble Baroness, Lady Scott, and to thank her for an expert and excellent speech—a great harbinger of what she will bring to the House.

 I feel connected with all the maiden speeches today. I was once Bishop of Spalding and worked with great joy in the area of South Holland, where the noble Lord, Lord Porter, was leader of the district council, and I had the privilege of serving with the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, on a Select Committee, so it is good to welcome both of them too. Continue reading

Bishop of Durham praises local partnerships in the north east

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On 28th January 2016 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Shipley “that this House takes note of local democracy in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the debate about the local authorities in the Durham diocese and partnership work with voluntary and civil society organisations.

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, on his excellent maiden speech and I look forward to listening to other maiden speeches later. What right does a bishop have to say anything about local democracy? Let me give some quick history. I was a curate in Wandsworth in the 1980s when the borough became either a cause celebre or something else, depending on how you thought about it. I then moved to the London Borough of Newham and experienced a democratically elected autocracy that avoided dictatorship because of the extremely fine leadership of Stephen Timms, who now, of course, serves as an MP in the other place. I then moved to the London Borough of Waltham Forest and worked both as team rector and as area dean on issues of social cohesion, through creating an interfaith project and through working on children’s and young people’s issues and on housing and homelessness. Continue reading