On 22nd July the Government’s Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill was debated at Sec0nd Reading in the House of Lords. The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, and the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, spoke in the debate, highlighting modern slavery, work eligibility, EU citizens, visas for ministers of religion, tariffs, and children’s welfare.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the introduction of this Bill in another place is a signal opportunity for Her Majesty’s Government comprehensively to reset the legislative basis for immigration control in this country, to set out a vision for doing so, and to rationalise and streamline the more than 1,000 pages of immigration legislation under which we labour. It is surprising, therefore, that, as other speakers have pointed out, this Bill is so narrow in scope. Continue reading “Bishops of Southwark and Bristol highlight concerns with Government’s Immigration Bill”
On 21st July House of Lords debated amendments to the Government’s Agriculture Bill, during its Committee stage. The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, spoke to amendments on maintaining food security during he movement to the new farm payments scheme.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I will say a few words about the transition period and, in particular, in support of Amendments 150 to 154 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Rock, which have the support of the National Farmers Union and the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, among others.
On 15th July 2020 the House of Lords approved a Motion to pass for Royal Assent the Church of England Channel Island Measure, which was introduced by the Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd David Urquhart. The full debate is below.
Channel Islands Measure
Motion to Direct
Moved by The Lord Bishop of Birmingham:
That this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Channel Islands Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent.
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I shall give some brief historical and current background to the Channel Islands Measure, then outline its content.
Until the 16th century, the Channel Islands were part of the Church of France and the diocese of Coutances. In 1496, Henry VII obtained a papal bull transferring the islands to the English diocese of Salisbury, but it seems this was not put into effect. The islands finally became part of the Church of England in 1569, when they were transferred to the diocese of Winchester by Order in Council of Elizabeth I. Since then, the Church of England has been the established Church of the islands. Continue reading “House of Lords approves Church of England Channel Islands Measure”
On 14th July the House of Lords considered the Government’s Agriculture Bill in Committee. The Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, spoke in the debate on amendments focusing on food security.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I support a number of amendments in this group, in particular those that touch on food security, such as Amendments 35 and 60. Food security is crucial, both for our protection and for the flourishing and survival of any nation. History teaches us that food shortages have always occurred. They are often caused by many different factors and occur at an alarming rate. One of the earliest historical examples of this is found in the Hebrew scriptures, in Genesis chapters 41 and 42, where we read of Jacob storing up grain in Egypt ready for the seven years of famine. Not only did his actions save the lives of many, but underlying this narrative is the message that food is also about political power:
“And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.”
On 14th July the House of Commons approved a Motion to give Royal Assent to the Church of England Channel Islands Measure. The Motion, taken in a Delegated Legislation Committee, was introduced by the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP.
Channel Islands Measure
Sixth Delegated Legislation Committee
[Graham Stringer in the Chair]
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Andrew Selous): I beg to move,
That the Committee has considered the Channel Islands Measure (HC 548).
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Stringer. I am grateful to colleagues for turning up this morning; I hope that the Measure will not detain us for long. The Measure is very simple: it will transfer the Channel Islands from the diocese of Winchester to the diocese of Salisbury. The transfer will be achieved by an Order in Council. The reason for it is that back in 2008 there was a safeguarding incident on Jersey, and the handling of the matter led to a dispute between the Dean of Jersey and the Bishop of Winchester. In 2018 the Archbishop of Canterbury appointed a commission, chaired by the former Bishop of London, Lord Chartres, to consider and report on the relationship between the Channel Islands and the wider Church of England. Continue reading “Commons passes Church of England Channel Islands Measure”
On 25th March 2020 the House of Lords passed the Government’s emergency Coronavirus Bill. It then rose for the Easter recess. The Lord Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, praised the spirit of collaboration in which all sides had worked to get the Bill through.
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, from these Benches I echo everything that has just been said. Noble Lords and noble Baronesses who come in to Prayers will know that one of the prayers said by the duty bishop concerns the purpose for which this House is here—namely, the commonwealth, the common well-being, of our nation—and, in some senses, the way in which its business is to be conducted.
On 24th March 2020 the House of Lords debated the emergency legislation from the Government to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke in the debate, highlighting issues to do with church closures, funerals, and care of the vulnerable, including the homeless, and those in prison or immigration detention:
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, in these days I have been reflecting on the words of the Hebrew psalmist who, at the time of his people’s exile, articulated the question:
“How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”
In many ways we are entering into a strange land, and indeed in some ways a land of exile: a land in which we are exiled from many of our normal patterns of living, in which people of faith are not able to attend their places of worship and in which many people find themselves having to live life in entirely new ways.