Caroline Spelman on advantages of Church House, Westminster hosting Parliament during renovations

On 31st January 2018, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP spoke in the House of Commons during a debate on a report of the Joint Committee about the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. Dame Caroline spoke twice, raising the possibility of adding Church House to the list of buildings which could be used to accommodate Parliament during the restoration of the Palace.

Dame Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con): I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for giving way—she is getting a lot of requests. On the subject of decanting, and just for the record—I will speak to this later—the House should know that until very recently there was a contract with Church House, under which, should we have needed to decant at short notice in an emergency, which can happen at any time, Church House had always stood ready to accommodate Parliament, as it did during the second world war. Continue reading “Caroline Spelman on advantages of Church House, Westminster hosting Parliament during renovations”

EU Withdrawal Bill: Bishop of Leeds urges Peers to ‘model good ways of disagreeing’

On Tuesday 30th January 2018, the Lords considered the Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill at Second Reading. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate, focusing on the purpose and tone of Brexit discussions. 

Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, many speakers will attend to the technical and legal details of the Bill and they will be better equipped to do so than I am. I therefore want to use my time to pay attention to a question that lies behind the nature of the Bill and the choices that we are required to make in scrutinising and attempting to improve it. This question applies to all sides of the argument, whether we think that leaving the European Union is an unmitigated disaster or the best thing since Winston Churchill mobilised the English language and sent it into battle. Continue reading “EU Withdrawal Bill: Bishop of Leeds urges Peers to ‘model good ways of disagreeing’”

Bishop of Salisbury backs plan to improve the environment

Salisbury190717On 28th January 2018,  Lord Gardiner of Kimble hosted a debate in the House of Lords “That this House takes note of A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment and of Her Majesty’s Government’s stated goal of working with communities and businesses to improve the environment within a generation so that it is left in a better state than that in which it was found.” The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nick Holtam, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, I very much welcome this ambitious and attractive plan, which is good for the environment, the economy and quality of life. The Lords spiritual have a strong interest in the environment out of a concern for the care of God’s creation as well as the opportunity stated in the Natural Capital Committee’s advice to Government in September 2017 as part of the preparation for this plan. It said: Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury backs plan to improve the environment”

Lords backs Bishop of St Albans’ bill on marriage registration

On 26th January 2018 the Registration of Marriage Bill [HL], a Private Member’s Bill by the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, was debated at Second Reading in the Lords. It received the backing of Government all other parties, and having passed Second Reading now proceeds to Committee. The speeches of the Bishop opening and closing the debate, and the Government Minister’s reply are reproduced in full below:

Second Reading

12.42 pm

Moved by

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: That the Bill be now read a second time.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the purpose of this Bill is to correct a clear and historic injustice. When a couple are married and that marriage is registered, there is currently provision only for a father’s name to be recorded. This is an archaic practice and unchanged since Victorian times, when children were seen as a father’s property and little consideration was given to a mother’s role in raising them. Continue reading “Lords backs Bishop of St Albans’ bill on marriage registration”

Bishop of Peterborough supports Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill

On 26th January 2018 Baroness O’Loan introduced her private member’s bill, the Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill [HL], for its Second Reading debate in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, spoke in support of it: 

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, yesterday, the River Restaurant downstairs helped us to celebrate Burns Night all day. I thoroughly enjoyed the Scotch broth at lunchtime, but I resisted the main course as I was eating out in the evening. I even resisted the whisky bread-and-butter pudding. The main course which I resisted was vegetarian haggis, celebrating Robert Burns in a way that respected the consciences of those who do not want to eat meat. That is a very proper and good thing to do. There is no legal requirement to provide vegetarian haggis, but it was welcome to many and I think that I would have enjoyed it. Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough supports Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill”

Bishop of Carlisle highlights need for cancer care improvements

On 25th January 2018  Baroness Jowell hosted a debate in the House of Lords “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to evaluate innovative cancer treatments and make them available through the National Health Service, and to raise life expectancy for cancer patients”. The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, it is a great privilege to speak in this debate. I begin by observing that although, as we have heard, we currently have one of the worst cancer survival rates in Europe, the overall 10-year survival rate for all cancers in the UK has improved from 25% a few decades ago to 50% today. The laudable and ambitious goal of our cancer strategy is to make that 75% within the next decade, thereby not only catching up with but surpassing international, and especially European, averages. Cancer Research UK, among other agencies, is currently researching possible therapeutic interventions, many of them innovative, in a range of more than 200 different types of cancer, and that is something to celebrate. However, I suggest that three vital conditions need to be met if those aspirations are to be achieved. Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle highlights need for cancer care improvements”

Bishop of Carlisle raises concerns about winter pressures on the NHS

On 25th January 2018 Baroness Wheeler hosted a debate in the House of Lords “That this House takes note of the impact on front-line social care of Her Majesty’s Government’s NHS plans and the delivery of services over the winter period.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in the debate:

 

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, as ever, much of what I might have wished to say has already been said so I will not repeat it. I will try to keep my contribution brief.

In one sense, the current situation in health and social care, which, as we have heard, has been widely reported and analysed by the media, is nothing new. Admittedly, the number of patients with flu this year, especially elderly ones, has not helped. Last year, though, in its document entitled Winter Warning, NHS Providers commented that, “NHS performance last winter”—that is, 2016-17—

“showed unacceptable levels of patient risk as growing demand outstripped NHS capacity”.

Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle raises concerns about winter pressures on the NHS”