Week in Westminster 5th – 9th October 2020

Parliament met this week in Westminster and online. Prayers were read at the start of each sitting day in the House of Lords by the Bishops of Rochester and Blackburn.

Across two days eleven bishops supported successful amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, on:

  • Child refugees & family reunion
  • Detention time limits
  • Children in care
  • Modern slavery victims
  • Social care impact
  • Right to return for UK nationals
  • Documentary proof of status

The Bishop of Southwark spoke in favour of several of these during the Lords debates. He also called on Government to resume the refugee resettlement programme, suspended in March.

The Bishop of Rochester voiced concern about the effects of the covid ‘rule of six’ on family life. He also asked Government if it would engage with faith communities on future climate goals, and welcomed Government plans for a breathing space scheme for those dealing with problem debt.

During committee stage of the Government’s Trade Bill the Bishop of St Albans backed amendments on food and environmental standards. The Bishop of Blackburn also supported amendments on sustainable development goals, and environmental, health, animal welfare and food standards

The Bishop of St Albans asked questions of Government about prosecutions for genocide against Myanmar generals, alleged Syrian war crimes, and its rural spending priorities. The Bishop of Coventry raised the case of a Nigerian man detained without trial

The Bishop of Oxford called for household access to a digital connection to be treated with equal importance to access to other household utilities.

The Bishop of Blackburn asked Government for a permanent increase in universal credit to help families struggling because of covid. He also questioned the desire to return to ‘normal’ after covid, suggesting instead it provided opportunity to reset our priorities.