“There is great evil in the North Korean regime, which the civilised world cannot simply ignore…not to do anything about evil on this scale is to collude with it” – Bishop of Peterborough, 23/7/14
On 23 July 2014 Lord Alton of Liverpool tabled a debate to ask Her Majesty’s Government ‘what was their response to the work of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’.
The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister, spoke about the importance of keeping diplomatic channels open, the situation of the Christian population in North Korea and the need to keep up pressure over human rights abuses. Drawing on his experiences of visiting South Korea, he spoke about the growth of Christianity there and the Anglican Church’s initiative, TOPIK—Towards Peace in Korea. Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough highlights human rights abuses in North Korea”
On 22nd July 2014, a Government statement on Birmingham Schools was repeated in the House of Lords by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools, Lord Nash. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, responded to the statement. He called for Government support of the Kershaw Report, asked for clarity on responsibility and accountability in the education system, and argued that the incident highlighted the need for greater understanding of faith and religion throughout civil society.
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for bringing the Secretary of State’s Statement to the House and for the publication of Peter Clarke’s report. As he mentioned, this goes alongside Ian Kershaw’s report, which was published on Friday, about Birmingham City Council and it has the support of the Birmingham Trojan horse review group, of which I am a member. That group has published its own, wider recommendations in this complex and troubling period. Does the Minister agree that both reports are thorough and hard-hitting, and that there is much in common in their findings? Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham responds to Government statement on ‘Trojan Horse’”
On 21st July 2014, the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke during the Committee Stage of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. He spoke in support of an amendment to make assault on workers selling alcohol a specific criminal offence. Following the debate on the amendment, it was withdrawn without being put to a division of the House.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I have considerable sympathy for the amendment, although I wonder how it will interact with the remainder of the law on assault if this is criminalised in a specific way. I declare an interest in that I used to be a publican. When I was employed in a university, one of the members of staff had to go down to the magistrates’ court and swear that they were a fit person to keep order. That is the only time when I have been into a court of law in my life, and the magistrates were not quite sure that this young clergyman would be able to do so. My main task was to prevent the students drinking the profits rather than sorting out any brawls. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester supports amendment to Criminal Justice and Courts Bill”
On 21st July 2014, a Government statement on the Ukraine (Shooting Down of MH17) and Gaza was repeated in the House of Lords by the Leader of the House, Baroness Stowell of Beeston. The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, perhaps I may return us to the tragic event of the downing of flight MH17 to join others in expressing deep and profound condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those who died. In particular, I express the deep sympathies of those of us who spend quite a lot of our time caring for those who are bereaved and, in so doing, I pay tribute to the Protestant, Anglican, Old Catholic and Roman Catholic ministers who have been trying to care for the stricken families at Schiphol Airport. They have a very demanding task. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry responds to statement on MH17 and Gaza”
On 21st July 2014, the Church of England’s Foreign Policy Adviser, Dr Charles Reed, gave evidence to the Public Bill Committee for the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill. The transcript of the evidence session, at which Dr Reed and Cecilia Taylor-Camara (Head of the Bishops Conference Office for Migration Policy, Catholic Bishops for England and Wales) gave evidence, is reproduced in full below.
Q24The Chair: For this session we have until 4.45 pm. Will the witnesses please introduce themselves for the record?
Cecilia Taylor-Camara: I am Cecilia Taylor-Camara, senior policy adviser to the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.
The Chair: I ask the witnesses to speak up a little. This is rather a large room and the sound is not brilliant, so please shout if necessary.
“By going down this track we would be sending a clear message to society, and especially its most vulnerable members, about individual lives having a different value according to their circumstances.”
On 18th July 2014, the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke during the Second Reading of the Assisted Dying Bill. The Bishop spoke against the Bill, raising concerns that the proposed Bill would destroy the balance currently provided by legislation, and highlighting the risks associated with the Bill in relation to the welfare of vulnerable individuals.
“Many of us who are opposed to the Bill are greatly concerned by the unintended consequences that it will inevitably bring into play. It is simply not good enough for those who support the Bill to dismiss out of hand this genuine concern. It is for them to give us consistent evidence that our fears are unfounded. Sadly, the available evidence appears to raise, rather than allay, anxiety.”
On 18th July 2014, the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill, took part in the Second Reading debate of the Assisted Dying Bill. The Bishop spoke against the Bill, focusing on the unintended consequences that the Bill would present, if passed.