Civil Partnership, Marriage and Deaths (Registration etc.) Bill – Bishop of Chelmsford responds to amendments on marriage

On 1st February 2019 the House of Lords considered in Committee a Private Member’s Bill, the Civil Partnership, Marriage and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill. This Bill incorporated provisions on marriage registration that the Bishop of St Albans had successfully piloted through the Lords in his own Private Member’s Bill in 2018. It included extra provision relating to registration of stillborn children, and civil partnerships for opposite sex couples. 

The Bishop of Chelmsford spoke during debate on two amendments to the Bill. The first, briefly, on an amendment from the Bill’s sponsor Lady Hodgson, to enable the conversion of civil partnerships to marriage, and vice-versa, through the introduction of Regulations that could amend primary legislation, including Church of England Measures. The amendment was passed after debate.

The second on a probing amendment from Labour Peers, which was withdrawn after debate, to remove the provisions in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 that give legal security to the Church of England and Church in Wales in setting and maintaining their doctrinal position on marriage.  The Bishop’s speech on that, and the responses of other Members including the Government front bench, the Bill’s sponsor and the amendment’s sponsor are below: Continue reading “Civil Partnership, Marriage and Deaths (Registration etc.) Bill – Bishop of Chelmsford responds to amendments on marriage”

Bishop of Chester speaks during Trade Bill amendments on Customs Union

On 23rd January 2019 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Trade Bill during its Committee stage.  The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke during debate on Amendment 24, moved by Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, which sought to keep the UK in a customs union with the European Union.

After Clause 5, insert the following new Clause—“Customs union​. It shall be the objective of Her Majesty’s Government to take all necessary steps to implement an international trade agreement which enables the United Kingdom to participate after exit day in a customs union with the European Union.”

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, it is always a pleasure to listen to the noble Lord, Lord Patten of Barnes, especially when religious imagery creeps into his speech with gospel truth and sacerdotal approaches. His opening remark reminded me of Trollope’s definition of hell: an eternity of listening to one’s own sermons. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Patten of Barnes, has similar feelings about his speeches, but they are always wonderful to hear.

Bishop of St Albans welcomes Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill

On 18th January 2019 the House of Lords considered the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I thank Tim Loughton MP and the noble Baroness, Lady Hodgson of Abinger, for bringing this Bill forward in the Chamber today. It is a complex Bill because it brings together a number of different issues and therefore the danger is that it could fall because a group of people does not like one particular bit of it. I know just how hard it has been working on just the focused registration of marriage part of it, let alone the other focuses. For that reason, I will resist the temptation to widen the debate beyond the scope of the Bill; for example, to explore the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Collins of Highbury. I do so because I want us to focus absolutely on what we are trying to deliver. That does not preclude us from having other debates on the points he has made but I do not believe that they are relevant today. Indeed, the danger is that it will confuse matters if we go beyond the scope of what we are trying to do.

As has already been spelled out, the proposals in Clause 1 reflect almost exactly my own Registration of Marriage Bill, which passed through this House with support from your Lordships. Perhaps I may say how grateful I am to the considerable number of people who were immensely helpful. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans welcomes Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill”

Archbishop of York probes Government about new rules on visitors to detainees who are terminally ill

On 15th January 2019 the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill was debated at its Third Reading in the House of Lords. The Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, spoke during debate on a Government amendment to Clause 4 of the Bill, concerning whether a person might enter a ‘designated area’ to visit a detained relative who is  terminally ill.

The Archbishop of York: My Lords, will the Minister contemplate another example? Megrahi was sent from a Scottish jail back to Libya and expected to die within a short period, but he lived for longer than six months. What if someone was here and the same thing applied? President Pinochet was allowed to go back. Everybody expected him to die but he walked off the plane and lived for quite some time. So the six-month period could become a problem. One needs to find a way of describing it in another way. People have died within six months but some have lived longer. Can the noble Earl help us with that quandary? Continue reading “Archbishop of York probes Government about new rules on visitors to detainees who are terminally ill”

Archbishop of York thanks Minister for listening to concerns on Tenant Fees Bill

On 15th January 2019 the Government’s Tenant Fees Bill passed at Third Reading in the House of Lords. The Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, spoke briefly:

The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I too thank the Minister for listening. He has been very attentive in listening to the suggestions, comments and evidence from tenants and all those people involved with this part of the Bill. I have been in correspondence with the Minister, starting in the Moses Room. Continue reading “Archbishop of York thanks Minister for listening to concerns on Tenant Fees Bill”

Lords approves four Church of England Measures, on property, pensions, ecumenism and miscellaneous

On 19th December 2018 the Bishop of Chichester introduced four Church of England Measures to the House of Lords for approval. The House passed the Measures after a short debate and so they were granted Royal Assent on 20th December . The House of Commons had previously passed the Measures on 11th December.

Moved by the Lord Bishop of Chichester

That this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Ecumenical Relations Measure, the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure, the Church Property Measure and the Church of England Pensions Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent.

The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, the four Measures before us deal with significant areas of the Church of England’s life in ways that strengthen, update or consolidate her mission. Continue reading “Lords approves four Church of England Measures, on property, pensions, ecumenism and miscellaneous”

Vote: Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill

On 17th December 2018 the House of Lords voted to pass an Opposition amendment to the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill. The Bishop of Lincoln took part and voted for the amendment. Continue reading “Vote: Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill”