Week in Westminster 19th – 23rd 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 Bishop of London.

The Bishop responded to Government statements and regulations on covid-19 and asked questions about the high cost of British citizenship for children, access to care homes, support for almshouses, and the high number of prisoners on remand. She also introduced the General Synod (Remote Meetings) (Temporary Standing Orders) Measure to the Lords, which approved it and passed it for Royal Assent. In the House of Commons the Measure was introduced by Andrew Selous MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner, and was approved by MPs.

The Lords debated the UK Internal Market Bill, and the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of Leeds both spoke in the debate, voicing concerns about the rule of law and the consequences for peace in Northern Ireland and the UK’s overseas reputation if international law were to be broken. Bishops supported a ‘Motion to Regret’ the Bill, which was passed with a large cross-party majority.

In response to a Ministerial statement on covid-19, the Bishop of Manchester raised the need for restoration of respect and trust between Ministers and community leaders in Manchester.

Bishops voted to support amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, including from Lord Dubs on refugee children and their families.

The Bishop of Oxford asked Government about the impact of covid-19 on the gig economy, and the Bishop of Salisbury asked a question about investment in local micro-energy generation.

The Bishop of St Albans asked questions about personal debt, the speed of housebuilding, gambling advertising and addiction, and wood pasture restoration. He also voted on amendments to the Government’s Agriculture Bill.

The Archbishop of York was reintroduced to the House, with his sponsors the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of London.