This week in the House of Lords bishops spoke and voted on the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, and the Higher Education and Research Bill. Bishops spoke in debates on the 2017 Budget, end of life care chaplaincy and the Commonwealth and responded to Government statements on National Insurance and on the EU Court ruling on religious symbols.They asked questions about religious freedom in Egypt, Iraq, accessibility of churches and on the work of the Home Office. In the House of Commons Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP answered two written questions about church land and the cathedral in Peterborough.
The Bishop of Chester was on duty throughout the week, leading prayers in the Lords Chamber at the start of each sitting day.
Monday 13th March
Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP answered a written question on Peterborough Cathedral.
The Archbishop of York spoke to amendments to the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at ping-pong stage, on the status of EU nationals in the UK and on parliamentary approval of the Brexit deal. He and other bishops voted on the amendments.
Three bishops also took part in a series of votes on the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill at its Report Stage.
Tuesday 14th March
The Bishop of Coventry received written answers to five questions on Iraq and Egypt, aid and religious freedom.
The Bishop of Durham spoke in a debate on end of life care, raising the importance of chaplaincy. He also received a written answer to a question about the role of Home Office officials in France, Greece and Italy.
The Bishop of Chester spoke in a debate on the Budget, on the national debt and health / social care funding.
Wednesday 15th March
The Bishop of Chester asked a question about accessibility to church buildings and also responded to a Government statement on the EU Court ruling on religious symbols. The Bishop also responded to a Government statement on its policy reversal on National Insurance contributions.
Thursday 16th March
The Bishop of Derby spoke in a debate on the current and future role of the Commonwealth.
Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP answered a written question on church land in Peterborough.