This week in Parliament the House of Lords gave a Second Reading to the Bishop of St Albans’ Bill to reform the marriage registration process, including to allow mothers’ names alongside those of fathers on marriage certificates. Bishops spoke in debates on cancer care, the NHS winter crisis, access to water in developing countries, and a private members’ bill on conscientious objection. They asked questions about the effect on families of the two-child limit and benefit cap, anonymity for those accused of serious offences, prisons, development aid to Burundi, and food imports. In the House of Commons, the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered questions from MPs on marriage registration, vocations, gay conversion therapy, Christians in the Middle East, counter terrorism measures at religious premises, fracking and religious education.
The Bishop of Peterborough was on duty in the Lords throughout the week, reading prayers at the start of each sitting day.
Monday 22nd January
The Bishop of Peterborough asked Government about anonymity for those accused of serious offences.
Tuesday 23rd January
The Bishop of St Albans asked Government about levels of food imports to the UK.
Wednesday 24th January
The Bishop of Derby asked Government about access to water in developing countries.
The Bishop of Chester called for balance in the way the prison system is discussed and reported.
Thursday 25th January
At Church Commissioner Questions in the House of Commons, Dame Caroline Spelman answered on: marriage registration, vocations, gay conversion therapy, Christians in the Middle East, and counter terrorism measures at York Minster and other religious premises.
The Bishop of Durham received written answers to three questions about the impact on families of the two-child limit on tax credits.
Friday 26th January
The Bishop of Peterborough spoke in support of the Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill [HL].
The Bishop of St Albans led debate on his own Registration of Marriage Bill [HL] , which was given a Second Reading by Peers and backed by Government and all parties.