On 6th December 2013, the Bishop of Chester spoke during the Second Reading of Baroness Howe’s Online Safety Bill. Speaking in support of the Bill and strengthening legal protections for children, he argued that the regulation of the internet was a question that couldn’t be avoided. An approach based on self-regulation only would not be sufficient. He noted that the danger in the information age was that we do not see beyond the information itself to the higher realities of knowledge and wisdom that that abundance of information should seek to serve. The Bishop of Derby also spoke during the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, it will not surprise the House to learn that I support the Bill, and I add my words of gratitude to the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, for her energy and persistence in bringing it forward. The Bill deals with an important aspect of child protection in relation to violent, abusive and, especially, pornographic material. In speaking mainly about pornography, I make it clear that I do not think that the issues around pornography in our society relate only to children. Indeed, I have a Motion for balloted debate which would look at the wider issues and the impact of pornography on our society. I hope that the House will have a chance to explore those rather difficult issues at some point before too long.
On 5th December 2013, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Lord Bishop of St Albans, made his maiden speech in the House of Lords, during Baroness Morgan of Huyton’s take note debate on the contribution of high-quality education to economic growth.
“It seems to me that the connection between housing and a lower reoffending rate is clear and it would be in the interests of government, society and prisoners if we could maximise the enabling of people leaving prison to be housed, giving stability of place and of relationship” – The Bishop of Derby
On 5th December 2013, the Archbishop of Canterbury led a debate on the work of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, of which he was a member from 2012-2013. The Bishop of Birmingham also took part in the debate, and his remarks can be read here.
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, your Lordships are asked to take note of the work of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards. I speak not only on my behalf but on that of some of the commissioners who, for various reasons, cannot be here. I should add that it is coincidental and owing to constraints of the diary that this debate falls so neatly between Report and the Third Reading next week of the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill. I am particularly looking forward to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington of Fulham. I am sure his contribution will be significant given his vast experience in another place, especially on the Treasury Select Committee.
“More competition can be seen in the regional banks that may be emerging. From my own interest in the Church Commissioners, I know that the proposed Williams & Glyn’s Bank, which is emerging from the 300 RBS branches, may have an opportunity to demonstrate how to be a good bank in the terms that we have already heard about, but at the same time that it will be freed from some of the responsibilities of the bigger banks and respond to people’s needs locally.”
On 5th December 2013, the Bishop of Birmingham took part in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s debate on the work of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards. You can read the Archbishop’s opening and closing speeches here.
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I welcome warmly the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, to your Lordships’ House and congratulate him on a most succinct but wise and constructive maiden speech. His knowledge of finance and banking is exemplary. We have already heard from my friend the most reverend Primate of the noble Lord’s service in the other place, notably as chair of the Treasury Committee. He also brings a wealth of experience in banking. The particular bank mentioned, Gatehouse, of which he is deputy chairman, has this remarkable attention to Islamic finance. As someone who serves in Birmingham, that is of course well known and much appreciated.
On 5th December 2013, the Bishop of Wakefield took part in a debate on assisted suicide. The Bishop of Derby also spoke during the debate – his comments can be read here.
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, I imagine that after clinicians, clergy—of a variety of faiths—are those who have the most frequent experience of being alongside those who are terminally ill and dying. That gives clergy no privilege in our opinions, but it does offer us a unique set of experiences in the care and support of the dying.
Part of that support, from all concerned in such caring, is reassurance to those who are terminally ill. The framing of the present law is integral to such reassurance. Fears of being a family burden, uncertainty about one’s own self-worth or society’s pressures on limited resources can undermine the feelings of the terminally ill. That calls out of us compassion. Choice is a two-edged sword.