The Archbishop of Canterbury pays tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

On 9th September 2022 the House of Lords met to hear tributes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose death had been announced. The Archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute, on behalf of the Lords Spiritual.

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Bishop of Manchester speaks in a debate on climate change and food security

On 8th September 2022, the House of Lords debated the effects of climate change on biodiversity and food security. The Bishop of Manchester spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Manchester: My Lords, I begin by adding my own compliments to the noble Baroness, Lady Willis, on what was a most excellent maiden speech. I am very much looking forward now to her deep scientific learning informing many future contributions. We need good science in this House. I also echo the sentiments of my right reverend friend the Bishop of Durham in the previous debate, assuring your Lordships that Her Majesty is very much in the prayers of the Lords Spiritual at this time.

I am deeply grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, for securing time for us to discuss the important matters in this debate. I draw attention to my interest as set out in the register as a Church Commissioner; we are one of the largest owners of agricultural land in England.

This year we have seen unprecedented consequences of climate change, both at home in the UK and abroad: record temperatures, shifting weather patterns, rising sea levels and biodiversity loss. Climate change is alive and kicking, and we need to work together at all levels, locally, nationally and internationally, to address the crisis.

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Bishop of Durham speaks in a debate on GCSE and A-Level Results: Attainment Gap

On 8th September 2022, the Bishop of Durham spoke in a debate on the attainment gap in exam results, regarding children in North East England:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I begin by expressing, on behalf of these Benches, our concern for Her Majesty, and the assurance of our thoughts and prayers for her and the Royal Family.

I am grateful to the noble Baroness for securing this debate and pay tribute to the way she has stood up for the young people of the north-east throughout her distinguished career. I declare my interests as chair of the National Society and the Durham Diocesan Board of Finance.

I begin by celebrating the success of our young people and their teachers, particularly those of the north-east, in the recent A-level and GCSE examination results in both schools and further education colleges. However, we cannot hide away from the gap between the north and the south of England—the stats have already been quoted, so I will not repeat them. The most recent figures continue to show that disadvantaged communities in the north continue to be hit hardest by the Covid pandemic and its impact on learning. Poverty is in every north-east postcode and is set to worsen. Headlines include, for example:

“In 2020/21, the North East overtook London to have the highest rate of child poverty in the UK, at 38%”.

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Bishop of Durham asks about care homes

The Bishop of Durham asked the following question about a proposal to discharge people from hospitals to care homes on 8th September 2022, during a debate on energy costs in care homes:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I was going to ask a very similar question; the Minister did not answer the specific question about the Secretary of State’s proposal that she may move people from hospitals into care homes and ensuring that that is joined up. Will he comment on that proposal?

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Church Commissioner Questions: Ukrainian Refugees, Persecuted Christians, Holy Trinity Church Wingate, Affordable and Sustainable Housing, and Accessibility of Churches

 On 8th September 2022, MPs put questions in the House of Commons to the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP:

Ukrainian Refugees

Greg Smith (Buckingham) (Con):

1. What steps the Church is taking to help support Ukrainian refugees. 

Sir Desmond Swayne (New Forest West) (Con):

7. What steps the Church is taking to help support Ukrainian refugees.

Andrew Selous: Six bishops and hundreds of clergy have Ukrainian evacuees living with them, and the Church of England is using vacant vicarages in a number of places. Churches are also actively involved in recruiting new hosts where needed.

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Bishop of Oxford speaks about ministerial changes

On 7th September 2022, the House of Lords discussed the recent ministerial changes, with particular reference to the new Leader of the House of Lords, Lord True, and the outgoing Leader, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park. The Bishop of Oxford made the following speech:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, it is a joy to listen to these tributes. I associate myself with them and, on behalf of the Lords spiritual, add our thanks and appreciation to the noble Baroness for her service over this last six years. It is a happy thing that so many of my colleagues are also here to join in that tribute. It has been my privilege to serve in this House through the whole of the noble Baroness’s tenure. I believe that she has brought the gifts of stability and acuity to her leadership and that the House has functioned well in that time. So far as I can judge, she has increased the respect in which this House is held in the wider nation and country.

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Bishop of Oxford asks about the cost of energy

On 6th September 2022, the Bishop of Oxford asked a question on energy bills for low income families:

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, it is very good to hear that a plan is in place to address this catastrophe, which is concerning so many people, and to bring help to households. What steps will the Government take to address this fundamental failure of the market, such that huge, almost unimaginable profits are accruing to energy companies, while the poorest in the country face the dreadful choice between heating and eating?

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Bishop of Exeter asks about warship maintenance and repairs

The Bishop of Exeter received the following written answer on 5th September 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Exeter asked Her Majesty’s Government, further to the announcement of the £55 million contract to regenerate HMS Quorn, a former Royal Navy mine-hunting vessel, what plans they have for further refurbishment of naval vessels to bolster NATO’s maritime capability.

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Bishop of Durham asks about debts and universal credit

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answers on 5th September 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Durham asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect of government debt deductions on Universal Credit recipients’ ability to afford essential items; and what steps they are taking to prevent debt deductions contributing to destitution as the cost of living increases.

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Bishop of St Albans asks about prisoners of war in Ukraine

The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 5th September 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government when they last had contact with Shaun Pinner, currently being held by the Donetsk People’s Republic; what assessment they have made of his health; and what conversations are ongoing concerning his release.

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