“…we need a different kind of representation of the people besides that of MPs and those who vote for them. We need a supplementary system of representation that represents networks, groups, cultures and faiths—that whole complex ecology in which human beings live” – Bishop of Derby, 19/6/14
On 19th June 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in Baroness Taylor of Bolton’s take-note debate on the Labour Peers’ Working Group report on the future of the House of Lords and its place in a wider constitution. He spoke about the ability of the House of Lords to act as a advocate for a diverse number of voices from civil society and strengthen the democratic process.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, it a great honour and privilege to follow the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Harries of Pentregarth. I have spent a lot of my ministry following his example and inspiration. I thank him for his contribution.
I am grateful for this report and for the clear presentation of the noble Baroness, Lady Taylor. I welcome the continuing debate and the whole style of incremental reform, which is the right approach. The report begins by recognising a significant feature of our times: widespread disengagement with our parliamentary system. We keep saying that and then just moving on. I want to ask us to stop and think about that phrase for a minute.
Continue reading “Bishop of Derby takes part in debate on the future of the House of Lords”
“I tell noble Lords from my own experience that if we are too heavy-handed we risk further radicalising families and communities at the grass roots, if some of their young are treated without any notion of a trial or evidence—all those British things that we try to stand for. We must handle this matter very carefully” – Bishop of Derby, 19/6/14
On 19th June 2014, Lord Dykes led a debate to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the threat from the spread of militant aggressive jihadism in the Middle East. The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the debate, speaking of the challenges associated with tackling transnational groups, and the need for close international co-operation in dealing with them. He also spoke of the need for strong community-based work in the UK, to help tackle and reduce instances of British citizens fighting in the Middle East. He endorsed the strong heritage of European Islam and of the need to engage its voice in a sophisticated debate.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Dykes, on securing this timely debate. I want to look at the Motion as it is set out. It concerns,
“the assessment of the threat from the spread of militant aggressive jihadism in the Middle East”.
Continue reading “Bishop of Derby promotes community-based strategy to tackle radicalisation”
On 19th June 2014, the Second Church Estates Commissioners, the Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, spoke during the weekly debate on the Business of the House. In his brief remarks, he called on the Government to resist amendments to the Deregulation Bill (debated 23rd June) that would deregulate Sunday trading. The Leader of the House of Commons gave assurances that the Government does not support a change in the Sunday trading rules.
Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury): Next Monday, the House will debate the Report stage and Third Reading of the Deregulation Bill. My right hon. Friend will have noted that our hon. Friends the Members for Shipley (Philip Davies) and for Bury North (Mr Nuttall) have tabled a number of new clauses which, if passed, would completely deregulate Sunday trading. I must tell my right hon. Friend that any such move by the House would be seen by the Church of England—and, I am sure, by many other faith groups—as an act of bad faith on the part of Parliament. The present Sunday trading arrangements arose from a series of compromises that were agreed in the mid-1990s to strike a balance between keeping Sunday special and enabling more stores and shops to open on Sundays. I should welcome my right hon. Friend’s reassurance that if you, Mr Speaker, select any of the new clauses for debate, they will be resisted by the Government.
Continue reading “Second Church Estates Commissioner urges Government to resist liberalisation of Sunday trading rules”
“We need to get people in their own backyards to understand, participate in and support this kind of culture change, without which our whole aspiration to deal with climate change issues will fall very far short” – Bishop of Derby, 18/6/14
The Government’s Infrastructure Bill was debated at its Second Reading in the House of Lords on 18th June 2014. During the debate, the Bishop of Derby, Rt Rev Alastair Redfern, focused on community energy provisions and, drawing on local examples, the role that churches can play as intermediary institutions. More details on the Bill, which also contains provisions on transport, planning and housing, can be found here.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, welcome the Infrastructure Bill and its joined-up thinking. A number of noble Lords have looked across the whole Bill and the large scale of it, but I shall look at only a specific area—that of community energy—and ask the Minister about how the Government can deliver on that. Continue reading “How the church can help deliver community energy projects: Bishop of Derby speaks on the Infrastructure Bill”
On 18th June 2014 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the report Cedars: two years on by Barnardo’s; and what plans they have to implement the recommendations made in that report.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the Chief Inspector of Prisons has written a subsequent report on Cedars. It describes a worrying incident where an arrest team arrived in full protective clothing and spent three minutes battering down the door of a house; there was no awareness of whether there was a child or children in the house, which could have been deeply traumatic for those young people. Does the noble Baroness agree that we need to have a full review of arrest procedures to try to prevent such situations?
Baroness Williams of Trafford: I thank the right noble Prelate for his question. I am sorry—I was so focused on the answer that I forgot the right reverend Prelate’s title. I think that there are lessons learnt from situations like that, and I know that refresher training is going on. I hope that, again, the specialist teams will provide that more consistent journey and that the lessons learnt will enable a better arrest and removal procedure in future.
On 17th June 2014, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, answered a written question on behalf of the Church Commissioners.
Alison Seabeck: To ask the right hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners how many parliamentary questions tabled to the Church Commissioners in the last parliamentary Session did not receive a substantive answer by the time of the 2014 prorogation; and when each such question was first tabled.
Sir Tony Baldry: All written questions tabled to the Church Commissioners received a substantive answer by the time of the 2014 prorogation.
On 17th June 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received an answer to a written question on climate change.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made in securing a deal on the European Union’s 2030 climate change reduction package, in advance of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The European Council in March 2014 discussed the 2030 climate and energy framework and agreed to make a final decision on the Framework no later than October this year.
The UK believes that the EU should urgently adopt a domestic emissions reduction target for 2030 of at least 40% on 1990 levels, moving to 50% in the context of an ambitious global climate agreement.
I am determined to continue working closely and intensively with all my colleagues in Europe to ensure that the EU is in a position to play a leading role at the Ban Ki-Moon Climate Summit in September.