On 16th January 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, introduced a Private Member’s Bill to the House of Lords. The Bill received its formal First Reading and awaits time for debate.
On 16th January 2020 Baroness Doocey asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is the Home Office’s policy on the processing of an asylum claim when an applicant says they have been the victim of child trafficking?” The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: Will the Minister update the House on any progress that is being made on the provision of independent guardians and advocates for victims of modern slavery? Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester asks about independent guardians and advocates for victims of modern slavery”
On 15th January 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill at its second day in Committee. The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, spoke in support of an amendment in the name of Lord Dubs and the Bishop of Durham, to ensure the continuation of the refugee children and family reunification provisions of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The amendment was withdrawn by Lord Dubs at the end of the debate, with a commitment to return to it at a later stage.
Clause 37: Arrangements with EU about unaccompanied children seeking asylum. Debate on whether Clause 37 should stand part of the Bill.
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I am pleased to support this amendment, to which my friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham has put his name. He is sorry not to be able to be in the Chamber today. A few weeks ago, we celebrated the story of Christmas. In the nativity, the happy events in a Bethlehem stable were followed by the more dramatic flight of the holy family to escape the violent persecution of King Herod. As we discuss this amendment, that story of the child Jesus and his parents fleeing from violence to a foreign land resonates loudly.
Children are among the most vulnerable victims of conflict, persecution and violence around the world. We all know that they do not choose to become refugees separated from their families. We as a nation can choose to reunite some families torn apart by conflict by offering children shelter, hope and a future. That is what I believe the majority of people in this country wish, and I am sure that is what the Government wish. This amendment seeks to ensure it by guaranteeing a safe, legal, effective and managed route for child refugees to join their families in this country. Continue reading “European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill: Bishops support Dubs amendment on refugee children family reunion”
On 15th January 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill at its second day in Committee. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in support of an amendment* to provide an ongoing role for both Houses of Parliament during the future relationship negotiations.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I think that the context has changed. When the Benn amendment went through, it was suspected of having the intention to thwart or delay Brexit. We are not in that position now: Brexit is going to go ahead. Surely, then, it is the job of the whole of Parliament to defend and promote its own interests and those of the Government in the negotiations going forward. So, in a perverse way, this amendment strengthens the hand of the Government by bringing in Parliament to back it and provide support as they embark on their negotiations; it does not diminish it. Continue reading “European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – Bishop of Leeds supports amendment on parliamentary oversight of future negotiations”
On the 15th January 2020 Baroness Watkins of Tavistock asked Her Majesty’s Government “how they intend to ensure safe staffing in social care and the National Health Service in this Parliament.” The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked a follow-up question.
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I am sure the Minister knows that safety is about not just numbers but the continuing development and supervision of nurses and midwives. Can she comment on what the Government are doing to ensure that both nurses and midwives are funded properly for clinical supervision and professional development?
On 14th January 2020 Lord Oates (LD) moved Amendment 2 to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill during its Committee Stage*. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate on the amendment:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: I thank the Minister for giving way. Does she agree that many of the 2.5 million people who have registered have done so resentfully and unhappily, because the process that they have been made to go through is effectively applying for a status that many of them have for decades felt that they should have had automatically?
On 14th January 2020 Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle asked the Government “what plans the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission has to engage with civil society”. The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I have seen the disillusionment to which the Minister refers. Given that no plans have yet been made for exactly how the commission will work, as well as the success of citizens’ assemblies in Ireland and France in rebuilding trust in democratic institutions, might the Minister think it a good idea to involve such citizens’ assemblies in the commission’s work? Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester asks Government to work with citizens’ assemblies on plans for democratic reform”