“Subsidiarity must be a key principle in any reforms—working towards a more participatory democracy, in which all people feel that they have a stake in a shared society and want to engage in the democratic process….We have to insist that people do not retreat into an unthinking, uncaring nimbyism that refuses to address the real problems facing us”- Bishop of St Albans 05/06/14
On 5th June 2014 in the third contribution from the Bishop’s Benches in response to the Queen’s Speech, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke about the rural economy and the impact that a wide range of issues, including housing, energy security and the Government’s plans for forestry, would have on its future.
“I cannot rest content for as long as there are those without somewhere to call home and, more sharply, without security in relation to the shelter over their head” – Bishop of Rochester, 5/6/14
In the second response to the Queen’s Speech by the Lords Spiritual, Rt Rev James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester delivered a maiden speech about housing. Welcoming some of the provisions in the Queen’s Speech about new home building, the Bishop voiced concern about supply and affordability and raised the work of Housing Justice and the Faith in Affordable Housing project.
Hear an interview with the Bishop about his maiden speech and his thoughts on joining the House of Lords here
The Lord Bishop of Rochester (Maiden Speech): My Lords, I thought that your Lordships might welcome a maiden speech as a kind of interlude in the midst of today’s business. I am most grateful for the welcome that I have received in your Lordships’ House since my introduction on, of all auspicious days, April Fools’ Day. I am particularly grateful for the courtesy, kindness and helpfulness shown by the Lord Speaker, Black Rod, the Clerk of the Parliaments and their staff. Continue reading “Maiden speech of the Bishop of Rochester: Housing and the Queen’s Speech”
..without some risk, innovation and courage in this area, local government will continue to be starved not only of cash but of the civic talent it desperately needs – Bishop of Leicester, 5/6/14
On 5th June 2014 in the first of the responses from the Bishops’ Benches to the Queen’s Speech, Rt Rev Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester focused on the need for revitalisation of local government. Citing political disconnect and the pledge in the Queen’s Speech to deliver a fairer society, the Bishop called for a creative reinvigoration of the relationship between central and local government, not least in the areas of health and social care. He cited Leicester’s plans for the reinterment of Richard III as an example of good local partnerships that also help create a sense of shared local identity.
The Lord Bishop of Leicester:My Lords, I want to take the opportunity of this debate to raise some questions about the balance of power between London and the regions in our country today. The gracious Speech emphasised the new financial powers to be implemented for the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales. While this is welcome, it highlights even more acutely the need for urgent action to address the very different environment for local government in England, in spite of what the Minister briefly said to us about resourcing local economic partnerships.
After the General Election of May 1997, once the Queen had delivered her Speech to the new Parliament and departed it fell to Lord Richard, as Labour’s freshly appointed Leader of the House of Lords, to move the first item of business.
He announced to the assembled Lords Spiritual and Temporal:
“My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill for better regulating Select Vestries be now read a first time. I am not sure why I am doing this, but I am.”
When Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury, revealed in 1983 that he had voted in the recent general election (though not who for), he was unlikely to have imagined that it would give rise to newspaper headlines and questions in parliament. He had not broken the law, though the subsequent debate shone a light on an otherwise little-known feature of the House of Lords. Continue reading “Can Lords Spiritual vote in general elections?”