On the 11th May 2018 the Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster spoke during the Committee Stage debate of the Refugee (Family Reunion) Bill. Bishop Peter intervened during the debate on an amendment from Lord Marlesford to limit the number of family members who can be relocated. The Bishop disagreed with the amendment and believed it was drawn too narrowly. The amendment from Lord Marlesford was withdrawn at the end of the debate and the Bill will proceed to its next stage. The whole debate can be read at the link below.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I am in general agreement with those who have spoken against the amendment by the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, which is, I think, draconian in the way it is framed. I would like some comment, however, on the scope of Clause 1(2), where nephews and nieces and so on are included. The number that could be involved is really quite large and may make this Bill’s passage more difficult if it is expressed in that large way. The Secretary of State is required to grant an application other than on grounds of national security. I just suggest that the best is sometimes the enemy of the good, and there is just a danger that, with the Bill as framed, you could have 20 or so family members making an application. In the realpolitik of our society, that is just unlikely to get through. On the other hand, I think that the principle of hospitality and welcome needs strongly to be affirmed. The rather narrow amendment here is resisted, but I do have some hesitations about the breadth of the Bill itself.