Welcome to our weekly round up of activity in Parliament. This week eight bishops spoke during the four days of debate on the Queen’s Speech, raising issues about Brexit, mental health, character education, vulnerable young people, poverty, domestic violence, farming, the Northern Powerhouse and industrial strategy. The Bishop of St Albans’ Marriage Registration Bill was introduced and had its first reading. Bishops also asked questions about North Korea, Syrian refugees, Gaza and religious freedom in Indonesia. A bishop responded to a Government statement on the Grenfell Tower fire.
On 29th June 2017 the Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, spoke during the final day’s debate on the Queen’s Speech, highlighting the need for a more effective approach to delivery of mental health services:
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, it is perplexing, given Mrs May’s commitment to mental health, that there is no mental health Bill in the Queen’s Speech, not least given the very strong commitments that were made about the need for legislation and the fact that this would happen. What there is in the Queen’s Speech about mental health is good, though it is vague. I hope that it is translated into more money for mental health, but it also needs to be translated into better delivery and accountability. That is what is lacking and what I want to think about for a moment. Continue reading
On 29th June 2017 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, spoke during the final day’s debate on the Queen’s Speech. She highlighted the situation of vulnerable young people moving into adulthood, as care leavers, carers, refugees, those with disabilities and those in prison.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I will highlight something that I believe needs careful consideration as we think about education, health and welfare. It is the matter of vulnerable young people making the transition to adulthood. I am grateful for the aspirations I have heard to support families and give children the best start in life. As we strive for the fairness and flourishing of all, I am concerned that we have yet to see any emphasis on our most vulnerable young people as they move into adulthood. I would particularly like to draw the Government’s attention to five specific groups who need help as they transition to adult life: young people leaving care; young people who are carers themselves; young people with severe disability; young people who are refugees and asylum seekers; and young women at risk of offending and being imprisoned. Continue reading
On 29th June 2017 the House of Lords held the final day of debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, spoke in the debate about countering extremism and the importance of character education.
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, like many in this House, I am sure, the events of the past few weeks have been very much on my heart and in my prayers, and in the aftermath of the terror attacks in London and Manchester, it is unsurprising that the Government have placed such an emphasis on counterterrorism and counterextremism measures in the gracious Speech. The Government are right to look at reviewing specific measures to tackle extremism and the places where extremist ideology is able to spread, but stopping extremist ideology where it already exists cannot be all that we do. Although we in this House may divide debates into topics and the Government into departments, as we know, in reality society is not just a series of policy areas, it is a rich fabric of connected life experiences of which education is formative for all. Its value in developing and defining the kind of society we want to become should never be underestimated. Continue reading
On 29th June 2017 the Marriage Registration Bill was introduced. The Bill is sponsored by the Bishop of St Albans. Its text can be read here. It would enable mother’s names to be added to marriage certificates and update the technological processes of registering marriages. Continue reading
On 29th June 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written answer to a question on blasphemy laws in Indonesia:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry asked Her Majesty’s Government: what representations they have made to the government of Indonesia in respect of Indonesia’s blasphemy laws following the two-year prison sentence handed down on 9 May to Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the former Christian Governor of Jakarta, for allegedly committing blasphemy against Islam. Continue reading
On 29th June 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written answer to a question on freedom of religion and belief in Indonesia:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry asked Her Majesty’s Government: what is their assessment of freedom of religion or belief in Indonesia. Continue reading