On the 22nd January 2015 the Bishop of Portsmouth spoke during a debate on the Local Government Finance Settlement. Bishop Christopher spoke about the issues of local welfare provision and thanked the Government for including notional provision for the continuation of local welfare provision in the current settlement. The Bishop went on to ask the Government to maintain or ring-fence the local welfare allocation to ensure that those in crisis need are helped.
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, I welcome this debate on the implications and challenges of the local government settlement. On these Benches, and indeed in the whole House, we look forward to the maiden speeches of the noble Baroness, Lady Pinnock, and of my colleague and friend, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Southwark. I look forward to that for many reasons, not least that he was a senior curate in the diocese that I now serve. He is the most recent in this House of a long line of able clergy nurtured and grown in the Diocese of Portsmouth. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth speaks about the Local Government Finance Settlement”
On January 22nd 2015, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, took part in a debate on improving access to the criminal justice system and victim support for people with autism spectrum disorders. The debate was precipitated by the case of Faruk Ali, a young autistic man who was attacked in Luton.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness for this debate. As has already been said, Faruk Ali comes from Luton, a town in my own diocese. Quite a number of people have raised that case with me and have been concerned about what happened, so I am glad to be able to involve myself in this debate. However, I will leave it to other noble Lords to comment on the specifics of the debate—I, too, have read the media on this—as clearly it raises a number of wider problems. At an early stage I pay tribute to all those people, both professional and volunteers, who work in the statutory services and in the charitable sector, who are doing a very good job at huge personal cost and with great expertise. We need to acknowledge what they are doing and affirm it before looking at some of the problems. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans calls for improved access to the criminal justice system and victim support for vulnerable people”
On 21st January 2015, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received answers to written questions on the subject of milk production sustainability and data collection on child marriage.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure the long term sustainability of milk production in the United Kingdom. [HL3994] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans- Child Marriage and Food Security (Written Answer)”
On the 20th January 2015 Baroness Kidron asked her Majestiy’s Government what steps they will take to ensure that arts subjects have equal weighting in the new Progress 8 measure. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the encouragement of arts or liberal humanities subjects is for the benefit of human flourishing and is also essential for preventing the development of extremism in religion and politics, and is therefore to be positively encouraged by government?
Lord Nash: I agree entirely with the right reverend Prelate. A rich cultural education, a knowledge of history and an understanding of British values are all part of a good education and should help combat any temptation to radical ways of life.
On 20th January 2015 the Bishop of Durham spoke in support of amendment 2 in the name of Lord Rosser to the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill 2014-15 during the Bills committee stage. The amendment relates to inserting a sunset clause into the Bill which would be reviewed by Parliament after a two-year period. Following Lord Bates’s response from the Government to the amendment Lord Rosser decided to withdraw his amendment.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, it is worth reminding ourselves of the speed of change in the world that has led to this legislation. If these proposals had been before us even 18 months ago, I suspect that we would not even have entertained them. Therefore, the speed of change that has brought them about demands that we say that we do not wish to forgo our existing liberties, some of which would be restricted by this Act, without having recourse, in two or three years’ time, to a serious look at whether the measures are working. So I fully support the idea of a sunset clause. I am prepared to accept that two years may be rather too brief, given all the circumstances and the likelihood that we are going to live with this for some time. I would, however, encourage the House to support these amendments in some form, since I believe that the removal of our liberties that is encompassed in these clauses is so serious that we should not put them into permanent place.
Continue reading “Bishop of Durham speaks about the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill”
Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill
House of Commons, 19th January 2015
Allocation of Time
1.- (1) Proceedings on Second Reading, in Committee, on consideration and on Third Reading shall be completed at this day’s sitting…..
The motion applies to the proceedings on the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill. The motion timetables all stages of the Bill, guaranteeing six hours debate, with up to four hours on Second Reading and a further two hours for Committee and remaining stages.
This is a short, single-issue Bill that the Government have introduced in response to the recent decision by the Church of England to allow women to be consecrated as bishops. The provisions will fast-track female diocesan bishops in the House of Lords, as current legislation will otherwise mean it would be many years before female bishops could take seats on the Lords Spiritual Benches.
More will be said about the detail of the provisions and the necessity for this legislation when we come to debating the Bill itself. This is an important Bill, strongly supported by both the Government and the Church, and it has broad support across the House. It is a tightly focused Bill with only one substantive clause, and it is for that reason that the motion allocates six hours for debate. I commend the motion to the House. Continue reading “MPs Pass the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill – debate transcript”
On 19th January 2015, the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, took part in the debate on the Government’s Recall of MPs Bill, during the second day of its Committee Stage. He spoke three times during the debate on Lord Hamilton of Epsom’s amendment, which sought to raise the threshold at which a petition against an MP would trigger the recall process, from 10 per cent to 20 per cent. The amendment was withdrawn at the end of the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I think that only these Benches could participate in these petitions since we have a right to vote in general elections, although there is a convention among us that we do not. I think that the last person who did so was Archbishop Runcie, who simply could not resist voting against Mrs Thatcher. He was found out and promised not to do it again, so there is a convention that we do not do it but we could. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester takes part in debate on Recall of MPs Bill”