Betting firms should be forced to take drastic action to protect children from ads says Bishop of St Albans

On 14th September 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Chadlington, ‘That this House takes note of the effect of gambling advertisements on children.’ The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I too add my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Chadlington, for introducing this important debate, which has such implications for young people in our country.

Gambling-related advertising poses a substantial risk of harm to children.

Continue reading “Betting firms should be forced to take drastic action to protect children from ads says Bishop of St Albans”

Grace and compassion needed in Brexit disagreements says Bishop of Birmingham

On 12th September 2017 the House of Lords debated a Government motion on Brexit, “That this House takes note of the position papers and future partnership papers published by Her Majesty’s Government on the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union.” The Bishop of Birmingham spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I am grateful for the debate and for the papers. It may help noble Lords to rest their ears for a moment if I say that my concluding remarks will be very similar to those of the noble Lord who has just spoken. It may also help your Lordships to know that—in confession terms, if I take the lead—I have not read all the papers in detail. None the less, I would have liked those sorts of details much earlier, I would have liked them to be debated and scrutinised, and I would have liked them to achieve a little more consensus as we get into the timetable of these negotiations.

Before and after the referendum, we were treated to the lazy slogans “Brexit means Brexit” and “No deal is better than a bad deal”. I am hopeful and expectant that those moments are over and that now, with these papers and other details, we are getting down to some serious work. Continue reading “Grace and compassion needed in Brexit disagreements says Bishop of Birmingham”

Bishop of St Albans on how digital access and understanding can help deal with social exclusion

On 7th September 2017 Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho led a debate “That this House takes note of the case for improved digital understanding at all levels of United Kingdom society.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, took part:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I add my thanks to the noble Baroness, Lady Lane-Fox, for tabling today’s debate. As well as the powerful economic reasons for improving digital understanding, there are also some very important social reasons why we need to look at this key area. As our lives move increasingly online, we risk leaving those at the margins and without digital understanding even further behind. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans on how digital access and understanding can help deal with social exclusion”

Bishop of Southwark says prison staff shortages need to be urgently addressed

On 7th September 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, “That this House takes note of the level of overcrowding in prisons.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Chrisdtopher Chessun, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, is to be thanked for this timely debate. As ​some noble Lords are aware, the diocese of Southwark contains five major prison establishments: Belmarsh, Brixton, Thameside, Wandsworth and Isis—though I hasten to add that that last name relates to the river goddess. It is my practice to visit them at the invitation of each Church of England chaplain who holds my licence. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark says prison staff shortages need to be urgently addressed”

Bishop of Rochester raises effect of prison overcrowding on mental health

On 7th September 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, “That this House takes note of the level of overcrowding in prisons.” The Bishop of Rochester, who is the Church of England’s lead bishop for prisons, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I too am very grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brown, for bringing this debate. I rather wish that the slight slip of the tongue of the noble Lord, Lord McNally, in first referring to the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, as a former Minister for prisons had been true, but there we are.

I recall a visit in my capacity as Bishop to Her Majesty’s Prisons, to one of our prisons and encountering a young man who was visibly distressed and disturbed, sitting against a wall with his hands over his ears, unable to cope with the general noise and hubbub on a prison wing—not least an overcrowded prison wing. I talked to one of the officers on that wing, who was relatively newly recruited and new in post; he was clearly there because of a really positive motivation, wanting to make a difference and with a vocation to work in the Prison Service. However, he was very conscious that because of responsibility to the whole wing, he was unable to give that distressed young prisoner the focused attention that was required. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester raises effect of prison overcrowding on mental health”

Second Church Estates Commissioner champions Coventry bid to be 2021 City of Culture

On 5th September 2017, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman took part in a Westminster Hall debate on Coventry’s bid to be the 2021 City of Culture, citing the impact of the Cathedral in the life of the city.

Dame Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con): I congratulate the hon. Member for Coventry South (Mr Cunningham) on securing this debate. It is exciting for all of us to know that Coventry has made the shortlist and is now in a five-way race to win this title. I declare my interest in that part of my constituency is covered by the diocese of Coventry, so I have many reasons to visit the city on a regular basis.

Continue reading “Second Church Estates Commissioner champions Coventry bid to be 2021 City of Culture”

Bishop of Newcastle speaks about transport links to Holy Island of Lindisfarne

On 20th July 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Berkeley “that this House takes note of the transport needs of remote island communities in England.” The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, spoke about the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, islands are special places and I am so grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, for this debate and for learning, in his speech and those which have followed, so much more about the context of the Isles of Scilly. I discovered the Isles of Scilly only a few years ago. They are magical but after the boat trip over there, I understood why you can buy fridge magnets saying “I survived the ‘Scillonian’”.

Today, it is the transport needs of another remote island community I wish to speak about: the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland. It is a very special place in my diocese. The island has been designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty. There is a national nature reserve covering 3,500 hectares. It has a rich historical and spiritual heritage including Lindisfarne Castle, owned by the National Trust, and Lindisfarne Priory, managed by English Heritage. The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is of course where St Aidan founded his monastery in the 7th century and based his mission to the people of Northumbria. Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle speaks about transport links to Holy Island of Lindisfarne”