Archbishop asks government about income inequality

york-170117-bOn 31st January 2018, Baroness Lister asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘whether they have a policy goal to reduce income inequality; and if so, what is their strategy for achieving that goal.’ The Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, asked a follow-up question: 

The Archbishop of York:  My Lords, does the noble Lord agree with Wilkinson and Pickett in The Spirit Level that equal societies, in terms of income, are much happier societies and that income inequality leads people not to be happy? Does he further agree that being in work does not mean that you have income equality? We have a lot of hard-pressed families on poverty wages, hence the food banks. What are the Government going to do to create this income equality, where we can all become happier people? Continue reading “Archbishop asks government about income inequality”

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about repatriation of Rohingya people

On 31st January 2018 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written answer from Government about the Rohingya people in Burma: 

The Lord Bishop of Coventry:To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the governments of (1) China, (2) Laos, (3) the Philippines, (4) Russia, and (5) Vietnam, regarding the announcement on 16 January that Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to repatriate Rohingya people; and what was the outcome of those discussions. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about repatriation of Rohingya people”

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”

Week in Westminster, 22nd-26th January 2018

This week in Parliament the House of Lords gave a Second Reading to the Bishop of St Albans’ Bill to reform the marriage registration process, including to allow mothers’ names alongside those of fathers on marriage certificates. Bishops spoke in debates on cancer care, the NHS winter crisis, access to water in developing countries, and a private members’ bill on conscientious objection. They asked questions about the effect on families of the two-child limit and benefit cap, anonymity for those accused of serious offences, prisons, development aid to Burundi, and food imports. In the House of Commons, the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered questions from MPs on marriage registration, vocations, gay conversion therapy, Christians in the Middle East, counter terrorism measures at religious premises, fracking and religious education. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 22nd-26th January 2018”

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”