On 7th November 2016, Lord Bridges of Headley repeated a Government statement on the judicial ruling that Parliament must trigger the process for leaving the European Union (Article 50). The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Rev Nick Baines, asked a follow-up question.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, it has been said that 17 million people voted in favour of leaving the EU; that still leaves a very divided country. Not everybody who voted to remain can be assumed to be trying to thwart the decision of the British people simply by asking legitimate questions. The final part of the Statement says:
“We are going to get on with delivering on the mandate to leave the European Union in the best way possible for the UK’s national interest”.
That is defined as,
“best for jobs, best for growth and best for investment”.
Does the Minister agree that we should perhaps have added, “Best for social order and the nature of our public and political discourse”?
Lord Bridges of Headley: The right reverend Prelate makes a good point. He points to a sin of omission here. I totally agree that we need to be looking at what is best for the communities of this country; that is why I am delighted that I have met with representatives of the Church of England to discuss this. Brexit raises a whole range of issues which are posing challenges for communities. I know that is so as regards EU funding. There are concerns across the board on various points. I am happy to discuss those with all faith groups and I am delighted that the Church of England has agreed to do so.
See also Nick Baines’ blog.