Week in Westminster, 20th-24th March 2017

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

This week in the House of Lords the Archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute to those who had lost their lives or been injured in Wednesday’s terrorist attack on Westminster, and those who acted as first responders.The Bishop of Leeds and the Speaker’s Chaplain both wrote in response to the events.

The House of Lords did not sit on Wednesday 22nd, but returned the following day. During the week bishops spoke and voted on the Government’s Digital Economy Bill, and in debates on UK-Russian relations and the impact of Brexit on both Gibraltar and the UK’s rural and farming sector. A question was also put about UK aid to hospitals in Gaza. In the House of Commons Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP answered two written questions, about Church Commissioner salaries and about yoga in church buildings.

The Bishop of Leeds was on duty throughout the week, reading prayers at the start of each sitting day.


Monday 20th March

The Bishops of Chester and Leeds spoke and voted on amendments to the Government’s Digital Economy Bill, regarding online pornography.

Tuesday 21st March

The Bishop of Leeds asked a question about aid to hospitals in Gaza. He also spoke in a debate on the UK armed forces and relations with Russia and in another debate on Brexit and Gibraltar.

Wednesday 22nd March

Both Houses of Parliament were evacuated following a terrorist attack that caused death and injury in and outside the parliamentary estate. The Bishop of Leeds described the events of the day in an article for the Yorkshire Post and on Radio 4’s Thought for the Day the next morning. The Speaker’s Chaplain, Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin also wrote for Parliament’s House Magazine about the attack and the need to come together in unity and hope.

Thursday 23rd March

As Parliament returned after the attack, the Bishop of Leeds led a one-minute’s silence in the House of Lords before the start of main business. The Archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute in the House to those who had died, those injured and those who were quick to respond with help.

The Bishop of Leeds spoke later in a debate about Brexit and rural affairs.

The Second Church Estates Commissioner answered two written questions: on yoga in church buildings and on Church Commissioner salaries.