Votes – Defence Reform Bill

House of Lords Division Lobby
House of Lords Division Lobby

Two bishops took part in a vote in the House of Lords yesterday (24th March), on an amendment to the Government’s Defence Reform Bill, during its Report Stage.


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The role of the church and education in promoting creative skills – speech by Bishop of St Albans

“Britain has a wonderful tradition of musical performance and singing. We play a little part in that with our heritage of music in our cathedrals, collegiate institutions and some parish churches. It is there that many of these young people discover not only that they have a voice but how to train it.” – Bishop of St Albans

In the House of Lords on 20th March 2014 Baroness Andrews tabled a question for short debate: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proposals they have to promote the role of the creative skills sector in the United Kingdom economy.”14.03 Bishop of St Albans

The Bishop of St Albans spoke of the role of education in fostering creative skills and the ongoing place of churches and cathedrals in encouraging music, arts and craft. Continue reading “The role of the church and education in promoting creative skills – speech by Bishop of St Albans”

MPs Celebrate Contribution of Women to the Ordained Ministry of the Church of England

In Westminster Hall on Thursday 20th March 2014, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP led a short debate on the role and contribution of women to the ordained ministry of the Church of England. 14.03.20 WH debate 4The debate celebrated the 20th anniversary of the ordination of the first women as priests in the CofE and looked ahead, both to the ongoing process to legislate for female bishops, as well as enabling them to sit in the House of Lords without delay. Sir Tony Baldry MP responded in his capacity as Second Church Estates Commissioner, and contributions were made by Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw MP, Sir Peter Bottomley MP and Helen Goodman MP. The Equalities Minister Helen Grant MP was also present to hear the speeches.

A full transcript is reproduced here and a recording of the debate can also be watched on the UK Parliament website here. Continue reading “MPs Celebrate Contribution of Women to the Ordained Ministry of the Church of England”

Bishop of Gloucester – evidence that food bank use linked to benefit sanctions and delay

In the House of Lords on 20th March 2014 Lord Beecham asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what assessment they have made of the number and role of food banks in the United Kingdom.’

The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Rev Michael Perham, asked a supplementary question:14.03.20 Bishop of Gloucester

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, research by Citizens Advice shows that the main reason people are referred to food banks is delay in the payment of benefits and benefit sanctions; anecdotally, this is also the church’s own experience from its involvement in the many food banks it helps to run across the country. Will the Minister tell us whether the Government are persuaded by this evidence and, if they are not, will he share with us what plans they have to carry out their own research into the reasons leading so many people to seek food aid?

Lord De Mauley: My Lords, I very much acknowledge the right reverend Prelate’s question. While it is right to expect that claimants who are able to look for or prepare for work should do so, a sanction will never be imposed if a claimant has good reason for failing to meet requirements. If claimants demonstrate that they cannot buy essential items, including food, as a result of their sanction, they can claim a hardship payment. No claimant should ever have to go without essentials as a result of a sanction.


Second Church Estates Commissioner Questions Minister on Bats in Churches

On Wednesday 20th March 2013, the Second Church Estates Commissioner Sir Tony Baldry MP posed a written question to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice asking about the plans to mitigate the impact of bats upon churches

Tony Baldry MP

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Iran: Human Rights

Written Question, answered on  20th March, 2014:

14.03 Bishop of St Albans

The Lord Bishop of St Albans:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Iran regarding that country’s human rights record.[HL6021]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The UK’s non-resident Chargé d’Affaires discussed human rights with a range of Iranian government officials during his most recent visit to Iran on 12 March 2014. He raised the use of the death penalty, freedom of religion and the workings of the criminal justice system. Prior to that, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), raised Iran’s human rights records with Iranian foreign minister Zarif at the UN General Assembly on 23 September 2013.


Bishop of Birmingham Responds to the Budget

Responding today to the Chancellor’s 2014 Budget statement, the Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Rev David Urquhart[1] said: david-urquhart

“There is much to welcome in today’s Budget announcement, not least the news that economic growth is strengthening, the long awaited transferable tax allowance for married couples, and the new funds to help restore the fabric of some our nation’s great cathedrals.

The increasingly confident economic outlook is good news. The crucial challenge will be to ensure that the stewardship of the economy takes into account the need for those at the lower end of the income scale or at the margins of society to share fully in the proceeds of growth.

The reaffirmation by the Chancellor of our country’s commitment to spend 0.7% of our national income on overseas development assistance is an important demonstration of our national commitment to those in the greatest need. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham Responds to the Budget”