This week in the House of Lords Lords Spiritual attended the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament. The Bishop of Bristol made her first speech in the Lords during the subsequent debate on the address, and the Bishop of Coventry also spoke on relations with European countries. The Bishop of Leeds spoke about extremist elements affecting football, and the Bishop of Oxford urged swifter action to bring in online age-verification for adult websites. The Bishop of Coventry asked what funds were available to help pupils with sever needs, not covered by SEN funding. A Private Member’s Bill was introduced on behalf of the Bishop of St Albans, to regulate gambling. Continue reading “Week in Westminster,14th-18th October 2019”
During debate on the Queen’s Speech on Thursday 17th October, the Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, made her first speech in the House of Lords. The transcript is below in full.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol (Maiden Speech): My Lords, it is an honour to be here to speak and, after nearly a year of watching and learning, to begin to find my voice. I am grateful to the noble Lords who have welcomed me so warmly after my introduction today and to the officials and staff who have guided me so well—not least the Church of England Parliamentary Unit.
Much has been unfamiliar but, having spent most of the last 30 years working in cathedrals, for the last 18 years as a dean, there was a certain familiarity on entering a building in need of significant structural attention.
On 17th October 2019 the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Baroness Barran (Con), repeated a Government statement on Online Pornography: Age Verification. The Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Steven Croft, asked a follow-up question:
On 17th October 2019 the Gambling Act 2005 (Amendment) Bill [HL] received its First Reading in the House of Lords. The Bill was introduced by the Bishop of Coventry, on behalf of its sponsor the Bishop of St Albans. First Reading is a formality and no debate was held.
On 17th October 2019 Lord Watson of Invergowrie asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they will take further to the recent survey of local authorities in England which found that since 2014 approximately £400 million has been diverted from mainstream education budgets in order to pay for special needs education.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, several heads in Coventry and Warwickshire have told me about the heavy demands on their energies and budgets from, to quote one primary head, children who are not on the SEN register but face horrific circumstances at home and so need extra help; for example, families who are homeless through domestic violence and children whose mental health is so poor—these are nine year-olds—that they threaten suicide. Does the Minister recognise the pressures on schools in mainstream education from children who do not meet the thresholds of special needs but who nevertheless have severe needs and require acute support? Is he confident that there is sufficient funding for them?
On 15th October 2019 the House of Lords continued their discussion of the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, contributed to the debate on the issue of the EU:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, the Queen’s Speech made clear the Government’s intention,
“to work towards a new partnership with the European Union based on free trade and friendly co-operation”.
As we have heard, the noble Baroness the Leader of the House spoke yesterday of the Government forging,
“a new relationship with our partners in the EU that will cement our reputation as a strong and reliable neighbour”.—[Official Report, 14/10/19; col. 19.]
I declare a very personal interest in such friendly co-operation: a hope that we may indeed be a strong and reliable—good—neighbour with the sort of obligations and responsibilities noted by the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter.
Last Tuesday morning, my German daughter-in-law gave birth to her first child in Cologne. I have spoken in your Lordships’ House before about her wedding to our son in the ruins of Coventry Cathedral: a place once desecrated by hatred and violence, sanctified by their vows of love, and witnessed—most movingly, I found—by their grandmothers, whose fathers and husbands had fought to kill each other in the First and Second World Wars. It was the fulfilment in two families of a 1940 Christmas Day commitment, broadcast by the BBC from the ruins of the bombed cathedral, to find a way to reach out to enemies and turn them into friends.
On 15th October 2019 the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Baroness Barran, repeated a Government statement about racism in football. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, it is very clear that what we saw in that match yesterday is just part of a much wider issue around the rise of far-right fascism in eastern European countries. Are the Government paying attention to that, and to the context in which this particular phenomenon in football fits in? Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds says far-right fascism behind rising racism at football matches”