On 31st January 2017, Lord Beecham asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they plan to take, in addition to their support for the Private Member’s Homelessness Reduction Bill, to tackle the growing problems of homelessness and rough sleeping.” The Lord Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, asked a follow up question about the eviction of tenants on universal credit.
On the 30th January 2017, Baroness Donaghy asked the government “in the light of figures showing that nearly one-third of newly qualified teachers leave the profession within five years of qualifying, what steps they are taking, including continuing professional development entitlement, to retain them.” The Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow-up question.
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the working environment for teachers is so often determined by the quality and effectiveness of school leaders, and therefore it is essential to equip school leaders to ensure the flourishing of their staff as well as their pupils? Will he be pleased to note with me the launch this weekend of the Church’s Foundation for Educational Leadership to work in this field?
Welcome to the Church of England’s weekly round-up of activity in Parliament.
This week in the House of Lords bishops spoke to amendments to the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill, Lord Shinkwin’s Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill and responded to a Government statement on EU withdrawal. They also spoke in debates on developing countries, planning, and the pressures on EU nationals living in the UK. Bishops asked questions about imprisoned Sudanese pastors, forced marriage, Burundi, Islam, child poverty and electricity supply.
The Bishop of Durham was on duty throughout the week, leading prayers in the Lords Chamber at the start of each sitting day.
Monday 23rd January
The Bishop of Durham moved an amendment to the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill, on the historic powers of the Archbishop of Canterbury to award degrees. He also asked a question on imprisoned Sudanese pastors.
The Archbishop of York spoke in support of another amendment, on diversity in Higher Education institutions.
The Bishop of St Albans received written answers to questions on forced marriage.
Tuesday 24th January
The Archbishop of Canterbury responded to a Government statement on the process of withdrawal from the EU.
The Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Chester took part in a vote on the Government’s High Speed Rail Bill.
Wednesday 25th January
The Bishop of Durham co-sponsored an amendment to the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill about student support for refugees.
Thursday 26th January
The Bishop of Chester asked a question about future electricity supply.
The Bishop of Derby spoke in a debate about employment opportunities for women and girls in the developing world.
The Bishop of Durham spoke in a debate about the situation of EU nationals living in the UK, highlighting the effects of uncertainty on families and communities.
Friday 27th January
The Bishop of Durham spoke during the committee stage of Lord Shinkwin’s Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill.
On 27th January 2017 Lord Shinkwin’s Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill was considered in Committee in the House of Lords. An amendment from Baroness Massey of Darwen, requiring the Secretary of State to review “the impact of this Act on disabled children, their families and carers, and the provision of support services” was debated and accepted. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, supported the amendment and the overall purpose of the Bill:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I was unable to be present at Second Reading but my noble friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bristol spoke on this matter, welcoming the Bill, and I add my support. I also welcome the amendment because I believe that, as others have already said, such a review would be very helpful.
On 26th January 2017 Lord Loomba led a short debate in the Lords, “to ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the report published by Oxfam on wealth disparity, what steps they are taking to ensure that women and girls in the developing world are equipped with the right employment skills.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Loomba, and congratulate him on the splendid work that his foundation does in targeting widows, who are some of the most vulnerable people. I also congratulate Oxfam on producing such a helpful report. Many noble Lords have spoken about the issues. I want to stress the fact that this is not just about inequality and discrimination; the report shows that they are both growing. That growth is the context in which we look at this debate.
On 26th January 2017 Labour Peer Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town led a debate on a Motion “That this House takes note of the impact of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union and potential withdrawal from the single market on the rights of European Union citizens living in this country and the United Kingdom’s future economic requirements.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, for introducing this debate. At the outset, I will take the opportunity to thank the Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Bridges, for his participation in ongoing conversations with the Church of England around these issues and for the time he has taken in hearing our concerns.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, at peak electricity demand, what level of supply is expected to be available through international interconnectors.