Week in Westminster 12th – 16th October 2020

Parliament met this week in Westminster and online. Prayers were read at the start of each sitting day in the House of Lords by the Bishop of Oxford.

The Bishop asked Government about emp0loyment initiatives and mental health funding to respond to the problems of resurgent covid-19. He also asked when Government would bring forward reforms to deal with the working practices of Amazon. Continue reading “Week in Westminster 12th – 16th October 2020”

Week in Westminster 5th – 9th October 2020

Parliament met this week in Westminster and online. Prayers were read at the start of each sitting day in the House of Lords by the Bishops of Rochester and Blackburn.

Across two days eleven bishops supported successful amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, on:

  • Child refugees & family reunion
  • Detention time limits
  • Children in care
  • Modern slavery victims
  • Social care impact
  • Right to return for UK nationals
  • Documentary proof of status

The Bishop of Southwark spoke in favour of several of these during the Lords debates. He also called on Government to resume the refugee resettlement programme, suspended in March. Continue reading “Week in Westminster 5th – 9th October 2020”

Week in Westminster 28th September – 2nd October 2020

Parliament met this week in Westminster and online. Prayers were read at the start of each sitting day in the House of Lords by the Bishops of Gloucester and Rochester.

The Bishop of Gloucester asked Government about funding for its Female Offenders Strategy, and about support for children’s sport.

The Bishop of Durham supported amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, on the social care workforce and on children in care.

Bishops voted on amendments to the Bill, and also on a motion to regret the use of the temporary provisions in the Government’s Coronavirus Act.

The Bishop of Rochester called for effective parliamentary scrutiny of coronavirus restrictions. He also asked Government whether it would restart the vulnerable person’s resettlement scheme.

The Bishop of St Albans asked questions of Government about Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the case of Asif Pervaiz, a Christian sentenced to death under blasphemy laws in Pakistan. He also supported amendments to the Government’s Trade Bill during its Committee Stage, about ensuring that future trade agreements are fully compliant with international environmental obligations, and meet standards on animal welfare and food safety.

Week in Westminster 21st-25th September 2020

Parliament met this week in Westminster and online. Prayers were read at the start of each sitting day in the House of Lords by the Bishops of Worcester and Carlisle.

The Bishop of Manchester made his maiden speech, during a debate on the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill.

He also called on Government to improve its messaging when introducing coronavirus regulations.

The Archbishop of Canterbury asked about reconciliation work in Nigeria following recent violence.

The Bishop of St Albans asked questions of Government about the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China. He also sponsored a successful amendment to the Government’s Agriculture Bill, on food and farm standards. Bishops voted on other amendments to the Bill.

The Bishop of Rochester asked about the effect on ordinations of the new COVID-19 rules. He also voiced concern about Government plans to allow evictions to resume following their suspension during the pandemic lockdown.

The Bishop of Carlisle asked a question about COVID-19 bereavement support for young people.

In a debate on new Government plans to limit payouts for higher paid public sector employees the Bishop of Worcester warned that lower paid workers would see their pensions hit as a consequence. He also asked Government a question about socioeconomic diversity in the creative industries.

The Bishop of Leeds asked about UK support for opposition groups in Belarus.

In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered a written question on the Church of England’s communication strategy during the covid-19 outbreak.

Week in Westminster 14th-18th September 2020

Parliament met this week in Westminster and online. Prayers were read at the start of each sitting day in the House of Lords by the Bishops of Southwark, Carlisle, St Albans and Peterborough.

The Bishops of Durham and Southwark supported amendments to the Government’s Immigration Bill, on detention, refugee family reunion, unaccompanied children, and health charges for NHS and social care workers.

The Bishop of St Albans asked questions of Government about the impact of new coronavirus restrictions on Remembrance Sunday events, and about accessible housing for the elderly and those with disabilities.

He also proposed amendments to the Government’s Agriculture Bill, on food security and farm payments. Bishops took part in votes on the Bill.

The Bishop of Southwark asked Government about Chinese policy towards Taiwan.

The Bishop of Carlisle asked a question about tackling health inequalities, and also called on Government to reassure EU and UK citizens about their commitment to the UK’s international treaty obligations.

In the House of Commons MPs the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered written questions from MPs on a wide range of issues: on the church response to COVID-19, Christian persecution, support for cathedrals, wedding guidance, the Sunday congestion charge, ethical investment, St Margaret’s Westminster, South Sudan, church schools, church buildings, lead theft, the Beirut explosion, mental health, and ordinations.

Week in Westminster, 7th-11th September 2020

Parliament met this week in Westminster and online. Prayers were read at the start of each sitting day in the House of Lords by the Bishops of Durham, Rochester, Southwark, and St Albans.

Photo: Simon Stanley

The Bishop of Manchester was introduced as a new Member and took his seat on the Bishops’ Benches. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 7th-11th September 2020”

Bishop of Manchester joins House of Lords

On Monday 7th September 2020 the Bishop of Manchester, Rt Revd David Walker, took his oath to become a Member of the House of Lords, joining the Lords Spiritual on the Bishops’ Benches. Bishop David was supported by his two sponsors the Bishops of Birmingham and Worcester, in an introduction ceremony that was modified to accommodate social distancing rules in Parliament.

Continue reading “Bishop of Manchester joins House of Lords”

Week in Westminster, 31st August – 4th September 2020

Parliament returned from recess this week and met on Wednesday and Thursday, with the Bishop of Bristol beginning each sitting day in the House of Lords with prayers.

The Bishop asked Government for assurances about its commitment to the 0.7% overseas aid target, the refugee resettlement scheme, and about the care of those suffering long-term effects from COVID-19.

The Bishop of St Albans asked a question about tree health and biosecurity.

During the parliamentary recess answers were published to written questions, from the Bishop of Southwark on Windrush compensation, the Bishop of Gloucester on the Female Offenders Strategy and from the Bishop of St Albans on forced marriages.

Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 31st August – 4th September 2020”

Week in Westminster, 27th-31st July 2020

Parliament met this week from Monday to Wednesday, with the Bishop of Rochester beginning each sitting day in the House of Lords with prayers.

The Bishop welcomed the Government’s plans for targeted human rights sanctions and stressed the need for consistency in approach, including towards China. He also asked about elderly domestic abuse, help for the disadvantaged in the coronavirus response strategy, and the UK’s commitment to poverty reduction when DfID and the Foreign Office merge.

The Bishop of St Albans asked a question about setting up regional travel corridors.

The Bishop of Bristol received written answers to questions on overseas domestic workers, and seasonal workers, and the Bishop of Southwark received written answers to questions on Israel and Palestine.

Parliament rose for its summer recess and will return in early September. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 27th-31st July 2020”

Week in Westminster, 20th-24th July 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online, with the Bishops of Chichester and Southwark beginning each sitting day in the House of Lords with prayers.

The Bishops of Southwark and Bristol spoke in a debate on the Government’s Immigration Bill, raising issues of modern slavery, EU citizens, the right to work, visa costs and eligibility.  The Bishop of Southwark also asked Government to take action on reports of human rights abuses in China. The Bishop of Chichester asked a question about the impact of student loans on recruitment and retention in public services, and also about support for children who are victims of domestic abuse.

The Bishop of St Albans asked Government about action against rising levels of knife crime. He also asked a question about guidance on singing and compulsory wearing of face masks in places of worship. The Bishop also spoke to amendments on maintaining food security during debates on the Government’s Agriculture Bill, and voted on two amendments to the Government’s Business and Planning Bill.

The Bishop of Winchester asked Government about student eligibility for free college meal vouchers and the Bishop of Durham asked Government about training and apprenticeship funding for disadvantaged students.

The Bishop of Salisbury received written answers to questions on the Russia Report and the Green Home Grants Scheme. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 20th-24th July 2020”