Bishop of Manchester asks a question on Finland and Sweden

The Bishop of Manchester asked a question during a debate on the war on NATO Accession for Sweden and Finland on 7th July 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Manchester: My Lords, Manchester, and specifically my diocese, has a long and close relationship with the Tampere diocese in central Finland. My friends there leave me in no doubt about how much it meant to Finland to gain its independence from Russia a century ago. Tampere itself has even more recent experience of Russian aggression: it was on the receiving end of considerable bombing in 1939. In welcoming from these Benches the decisions of Finland and Sweden to join NATO, it is noteworthy that they both do so from previous positions of neutrality. Could I invite the Minister to tell us what wisdom, experience and skills, building on that historically neutral perspective, he believes Finland and Sweden will bring to strengthen our vital defensive alliance?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The noble Baroness, Lady Blackstone, referred earlier to these countries’ expertise and insights on the Arctic, which is demilitarised, and that has been a key objective. We need that insight to make sure that is sustained, for example. Our mutual security declarations also mean that the added security and the collective security of the alliance will be sustained and now extended to both countries. Frankly speaking, let us not forget when Russia, and indeed Mr Lavrov, stated repeatedly, “We have no intentions to invade Ukraine”. The reality is very different.


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