On 21st January 2014, four bishops took part in a vote on the Government’s Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, during its Third Reading.
On 20th January 2014, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds spoke in favour of an amendment to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, during the Bill’s Report Stage. The amendment, proposed by Lord Deben and co-sponsored by the Bishop of Newcastle, related to the use of amplified noise equipment in vicinity of the Palace of Westminster, and the Bishop spoke of the impact that such equipment has on worship in Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Church.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I warmly support both these approaches. Although they are contrasting—the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, emphasises transparency while the other approach offers appropriate consumer protection through some degree of regulation—I do not think that they are incompatible with each other.
On 20th January 2014, Baroness Hollis of Heigham asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to revise their underoccupancy charge so that, as in the private rented sector from 2008, it applies only to new tenants.
The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, what flexibility is there for housing authorities in the implementation of the underoccupancy charge in circumstances such as when a child dies and the house thereby becomes underoccupied?
On 17th December 2013, the Bishop of Derby received an answer to a written question on human trafficking.
The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): Information on the number of arrests made by the police for human trafficking offences is not held centrally and could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.
On 16th January 2014, the Bishop of Derby took part in a debate to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the world wide web. He spoke about the huge advances enabled by the world wide web, but also of the challenges presented by technological advances.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Lane-Fox, on introducing a party into this Chamber. Perhaps the screens should have moving images and the lights should move much more quickly.
On 16th January 2014, Baroness Berridge asked Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the failure of the transition government and the growing crisis in the Central African Republic.
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the scale of the crisis is very large? I am grateful for what the Government are doing in response to this particular crisis, but will they use their offices in the European Union to make sure that all nations take part in dealing with this rather appalling situation? I am not confident that the African Union actually has the capacity to deal with the situation, much as it is on the ground. I hope the Minister can give us some comfort by confirming that the Government are talking to our European allies to ensure that whatever is needed is provided. Otherwise, we will end up with genocide and pictures on our television screens that will make all our stomachs churn day by day.