On 8th April 2019 a Government statement on new proposals for online safety was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, welcomed the proposals and asked a follow-up question about international cooperation:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I add my voice to those of my friends, the right reverend Prelates who sit on these Benches, who have welcomed this White Paper as a first step. Many of the platforms that would fall under the proposed regulator are based overseas. I hope that the proposals set out in the White Paper will give sufficient power to any regulator to hold these and future international companies to account.
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On 8th April 2019 Baroness Kennedy of Cradley asked the Government “what action they are taking to reduce air pollution.” The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for her answers so far. Can I pick up the issue of children? As the Bishop of London, I am very grateful for the ultra-low emission zone being implemented today. Can the Minister reassure us that money is going to be put into research to ensure that we know the long-term effects on the health of those children who have already incurred high emissions?
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On 4th April 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question he had tabled on religious freedom in China. The exchanges, and the follow-up questions from other Members, are below:
China: Religious Freedom
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their current assessment of freedom of religion in China.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): My Lords, there are several recognised religions in China, with tens of millions of practising Christians, Muslims and Buddhists, among others. However, we are deeply concerned about developing restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China, including reports that authorities are tightening control over how certain religions are practised. At the United Nations Human Rights Council last month, I raised directly our concerns about restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China, including on Muslims and Christians in Xinjiang.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I thank the Minister for his reply. There are deeply worrying reports coming out of China, not least about persecuting the Christian churches there—an ancient Christian church there was founded in the 7th century. Will he comment particularly on the developing situation concerning Uighur Muslims and the development of the network of re-education camps in Xinjiang province? What representations have Her Majesty’s Government made and what are they planning to do?
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On 4th April 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on building on brownfield sites:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to their commitment to “maintaining existing strong protections for the Green Belt, and clarifying that Green Belt boundaries should be amended only in exceptional circumstances” in Fixing our broken housing market (CM 9352), published in February 2017, what assessment they have made of the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s report State of Brownfield 2019, published in March; and what plans they have to incentivise building on brownfield sites.
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On 3rd April 2019 the Minister for Equalities, Baroness Williams of Trafford, repeated a statement made in the House of Commons by the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, about the Windrush Compensation Scheme. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, responded with a follow up question about religious literacy in determining asylum applications:
Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, while grateful for the Statement and the compensation scheme, I have a particular concern to raise with the Minister. We have recently seen publicity about very poor decisions on immigration made in the Home Office, suggesting that decisions are being made by staff who are perhaps too junior or not adequately trained. Can we be assured that there will be enough staff working on this scheme who are of sufficient seniority and adequately trained?
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On 3rd April 2019 Baroness Whitaker asked the Government “whether they intend to implement the recommendations of the report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Immigration Detention (HL Paper 279), published on 7 February, in particular those related to indefinite detention.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the Joint Committee’s report recommends that initial detention decisions be reviewed by a judge within 72 hours. Can the Minister explain why the usual standards of British justice should not apply here? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about timescale of immigration detention review”
On 2nd, 3rd & 4th April 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received answers to three written questions on the benefit cap policy.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the sample size used to inform the design of the benefit cap policy
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