‘I joined 25 Bishops in condemning plans to send refugees to Rwanda – here’s why’ – Bishop of Durham


The following article by the Bishop of Durham appeared in the Independent on 15th June 2022

The Bishop of Durham,
Rt Revd Paul Butler

It is a deeply regrettable moment for us as a nation that the government is pursuing a policy that intends to transport asylum seekers to another country thousands of miles away, before and without considering their claim to asylum in the UK.

We have a rich history of providing sanctuary to those around the world fleeing war and persecution, and it is intolerable to see us abdicate both our moral responsibility and commitment to international law. This week, all of the 26 bishops of the Church of England who serve in the House of Lords signed a letter voicing our alarm over the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Continue reading “‘I joined 25 Bishops in condemning plans to send refugees to Rwanda – here’s why’ – Bishop of Durham”

Bishops’ letter to The Times on the Rwanda asylum removals policy


14/06/2022

All of the Lords Spiritual signed a letter to The Times voicing alarm about the Government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. They wrote:

Whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda, this policy should shame us as a nation. Rwanda is a brave country recovering from catastrophic genocide. The shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries. Those to be deported to Rwanda have had no chance to appeal, or reunite with family in Britain. They have had no consideration of their asylum claim, recognition of their medical or other needs, or any attempt to understand their predicament.

Continue reading “Bishops’ letter to The Times on the Rwanda asylum removals policy”

‘Rwanda refugees plan flies in the face of Christian teachings’ – Bishop of Durham

This is the text of an article published in The Independent on 26th April 2022.

Bishop of Durham

The government’s plan is troubling because we are discharging our responsibility to welcoming the stranger, writes the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler.

In the House of Lords over the past few months, I have been contributing to debates on the Nationality and Borders Bill – engaging with the government’s desire to reform the asylum system. My starting point is the Christian commitment to welcoming the stranger, treating them as we would each other.

Continue reading “‘Rwanda refugees plan flies in the face of Christian teachings’ – Bishop of Durham”

Bishop of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich introduced

On Monday 21st March 2022 the Bishop of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Rt Revd Martin Seeley, was introduced to the House of Lords and took his seat on the Bishops Benches as a Lord Spiritual.

The Bishop of St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich in the Bishops’ Robing Room before the introduction, with one of his sponsors the Archbishop of York. Photo by Jess Reedy.



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Introduction of former Archbishop Sentamu as a life Peer

On 25th May 2021 the former Archbishop of York, Rt Revd John Sentamu was introduced to the House of Lords to sit as an independent Crossbench Peer. He will sit under the title Lord Sentamu of Lindisfarne in the County of Northumberland and of Masooli in the Republic of Uganda.

The ceremony of introduction for Baron Sentamu, 25th May 2021


Hansard records:

12.08pm
The right reverend and the right honourable John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu, having been created Baron Sentamu, of Lindisfarne in the County of Northumberland and of Masooli in the Republic of Uganda, was introduced and took the oath, supported by Baroness Hale of Richmond and Lord Popat, and signed an undertaking to abide by the Code of Conduct.

Response to the Budget from the Bishop of Birmingham


03/03/2021

Following the Budget speech, the Bishop of Birmingham, David Urquhart, Convenor of the Bishops in the House of Lords, said:

“This is a time of great uncertainty, and while the Chancellor has rightly focussed on steps to get the economy moving, I’m concerned he has missed the chance to give certainty to those people and families who rely on Universal Credit, by not making the £20 uplift permanent.

“I’ll look at the details of the Budget closely for measures that will help the poorest and most vulnerable, especially access to sustainable jobs. The £19m for Domestic Abuse programmes is welcome as is support for schools to help get children back on the road of educational discovery. The lack of detail on social care is, however, a worry.

“The £300m additional funding for the Culture Recovery Fund is very welcome and will support the many small businesses and independent contractors our churches employ and support. I also note that the Levelling Up Fund prospectus specifically mentions cultural and heritage assets, including churches, and we look forward to churches and cathedrals particularly in areas of high deprivation taking part in this programme.”

Source: CofE website

Week in Westminster, 14th-18th December 2020

Parliament met in Westminster and online this week. The Bishop of Southwark was on duty in the House of Lords and read prayers at the start of each sitting day.

He asked a question on the impact of Covid-19 on the cultural industries, the need for vaccinations for prison staff and inmates, and housing needs of asylum seekers with disabilities.

The Bishop of Durham asked about child poverty and lower life expectancies in the north-east, and received written answers on the need for a Universal Credit uplift.

The Bishop of Oxford welcomed Government plans to tackle online harms.

The Bishop of St Albans asked Government about gambling related harms, and UK supply chain connections to firms involved in Chinese suppression of Uighurs. He received written answers to questions on hospice funding, and fly-tipping.

The Bishop of Salisbury raised the Government’s missed targets for tree planting, welcomed the Energy White Paper and asked about the use of churches as electric vehicle charge points.

The Bishop of Gloucester received written answers to questions on pregnant women and mothers in prison, and the impact on families of the remand backlog.

Bishops took part in votes on the UK Internal Market Bill.

Parliament rose for the Christmas recess on 17th December, to return in January.

Week in Westminster, 7th-11th December 2020

Parliament met in Westminster and online this week. The Bishop of Newcastle was on duty in the House of Lords and read prayers at the start of each sitting day.

She asked a question on the effect of international aid cuts on vaccines for malaria, and took part in votes.

The Bishop of Worcester asked about a national child poverty strategy.

The Bishops of Coventry, Southwark and Leeds received written answers to questions about use of cluster munitions, protection of refugees, and religious and cultural sites in Nagorno Karabakh.

The Bishop of Oxford asked Government about age ratings for content on streaming platforms.

The Bishop of St Albans sponsored amendments on parliamentary oversight, and human rights, to the Government’s Trade Bill. He and other bishop voted in support of amendments to the Bill.

The Bishop also asked Government about gambling related harms, and their Agriculture Transition Plan. He received written answers to questions on armed conflict and food shortages in Ethiopia, and whether UK purchased PPE had been made using Chinese forced labour in China.

The Bishop of Peterborough asked Government to make retrospective pension entitlements of some remarried war widows.

The Bishop of Salisbury received a written answer on a potential environmental governance gap after the end of the Brexit transition period.

Bishops took part in votes on the UK Internal Market Bill and a report into the conduct and suspension of a Member.

The Second Church Estates Commissioner answered a written question on landholdings.

Week in Westminster, 30th November – 4th December 2020

Parliament met in Westminster and online this week. The Bishop of Carlisle was on duty in the House of Lords and read prayers at the start of each sitting day.

He asked questions about Child Trust Funds, access to cancer treatment in the developing world, and supported amendments to prohibit or regulate the use of children by police and security services in covert investigations.

The Bishop of London asked about domestic abuse of elderly people during covid lockdown.

The Bishop of St Albans asked Government about the announced overseas aid cut, Eritrean refugees, and received written answers to questions on gambling, outdoor carol singing, hospice funding, the effects of quantitative easing, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

He and the Bishops of Coventry, Southwark and Leeds received written answers to seven questions about armed conflict, peace, reconstruction and religious and cultural sites in Nagorno Karabakh.

The Bishop of Portsmouth responded to the Government’s spending review announcement, focusing on universal credit and aid

The Bishop of Gloucester received written answers to questions on prisoner release over Christmas and contact with family.

Week in Westminster, 23rd -27th November 2020

Parliament met in Westminster and online this week. The Bishop of St Albans was on duty in the House of Lords and read prayers at the start of each sitting day.

The Bishop of Worcester responded to news of the cut in the overseas aid budget, describing it as a broken promise to the poorest.

The Bishop of St Albans asked Government about the rural economy, nuclear weapons, valuing the civil service, diversity on the Equality and Human Rights Commission board, and received written answers to questions on gambling (advertising, rehabilitation, education and football), technology used for detention of Uyghurs in China, and protection of monasteries and churches in Nagorno-Karabakh.

He, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Leeds voted on amendments to the Government’s UK Internal Market Bill.

The Bishop of Durham asked about the resumption of the refugee resettlement scheme.

The Bishop of Portsmouth welcomed the Government’s integrated review of foreign, defence, security and development policy.

In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered questions from MPs on public worship, tree planting, Christmas services, gender-based violence, Living in Love and Faith, cathedral services, Christian persecution, community support and consistory court appeals.

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