Bishop of Coventry speaks in Lords debate on action against ISIL in Syria

On 2nd December 2015 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, spoke during the House of Lords debate on ISIL in Syria. The full text of his speech is below. The Archbishop of Canterbury also spoke in the debate.

Bp Coventry May 2015The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, coming from Coventry, a city bound in solidarity of suffering with bombed cities in Europe, I am kept in daily remembrance of the costs of military action, especially to civilians. Against such costs, the benefits must be clear and the chances of success especially high. We all agree that the evil of Daesh needs to be stopped, but will extending strikes from Iraq into Syria do it? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry speaks in Lords debate on action against ISIL in Syria”

Second Church Estates commissioner speaks in House of Commons Syria debate

On the 2nd December 2015 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon. Caroline Spelman MP, spoke in the House of Commons debate on action against ISIL in Syria. Mrs Spelman highlighted the need for a comprehensive strategy, which needed to included a theological, ideological response, not just military and humanitarian. The subsequent vote on the Government’s motion was passed by 397 to 223. Mrs Spelman voted with the Government. Her speech is reproduced below:

CarolineMrs Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con): There is an important religious dimension to this debate and faith leaders shape public opinion, so I thought it might be helpful if I shared with the House the views expressed by the Church of England on the subject.

At a meeting of the General Synod last week, a motion on the migrant crisis called unanimously upon the Government,

“to work with international partners in Europe and elsewhere to help establish safe and legal routes to places of safety, including this country, for refugees who are vulnerable and at severe risk.”

Continue reading “Second Church Estates commissioner speaks in House of Commons Syria debate”

Archbishop of Canterbury speaks in Lords debate on action against ISIL in Syria

On the 2nd December 2015 the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon. Justin Welby, spoke during the House of Lords debate on ISIL in Syria. The Archbishop’s speech is reproduced in full below and can be watched here. The Bishop of Coventry also spoke in the debate.

AbpCanterbury021215The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I add to the welcomes given to the noble Lord, Lord Hague of Richmond, and note his perfect timing in bringing his immeasurable wisdom and experience to our debates. I look forward very much to his contribution.

To my mind, the “just war” criteria have been met. However, while they are necessary, they are not by themselves sufficient in action of this kind, where we can end up doing the right thing in such a wrong way that it becomes the wrong thing. To my mind, there are three components that currently need more emphasis and are to some extent missing. In this role, through visiting all 38 provinces of the Anglican communion, through the constant contacts that we have with Muslim and Christian leaders in the region, as recently as three weeks ago in a conference at Lambeth Palace, I am constantly reminded that this is a global issue to which we are applying local solutions. Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury speaks in Lords debate on action against ISIL in Syria”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about security of Camp Liberty

StAlbans171115On 16th November 2015, the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received written answers to questions about the security of Camp Liberty in Iraq.


Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the recent missile attacks on Camp Liberty in Iraq. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about security of Camp Liberty”

Bishop of Portsmouth speaks about challenges of retention of armed forces reservists

On 22nd October 2015 Lord Freeman led a Lords debate “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the present and future strength of the reserves of the British Armed Forces.” The Bishop of Portsmouth spoke in the debate

14.04.09 Portsmouth maiden speech 2The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth:  My Lords, I share our gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Freeman, for this Question for Short Debate. The Whole Force Concept is journeying from theory to reality. It is a tricky journey, it seems to me, not because the Government set the wrong course five years ago but because of the scale and complexity of the task. It is true that many essential defence skills, and especially many essential national security skills, reside in the private sector as well as in the Armed Forces. To bring these together coherently and effectively requires both strategic direction and effective management. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth speaks about challenges of retention of armed forces reservists”

Bishop of Portsmouth asks if UK defence has a credibility and capability gap

On 15th September 2015 the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, took part in a short debate led by Earl Howe on ‘The Role and Capabilities of the UK Armed Forces, in the Light of Global and Domestic Threats to Stability and Security’. The Bishop spoke about the growing credibility and capability gaps in British defence structures. 

14.04.09 Portsmouth maiden speech 1The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, in welcoming this debate, I offer some comments addressing the subtext—as the noble Earl, Lord Howe, put it—and in particular the strategic defence and security review. I am very well aware of the range and depth of experience among your Lordships. I offer these comments without such knowledge and background but from deep admiration for those who serve in our Armed Forces, not least in the Royal Navy, for which you will understand my local pride. We all share a concern for the stability and security of our nation and our world. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks if UK defence has a credibility and capability gap”

Bishop of Southwark calls on Government to invest in peacekeeping and post-conflict role of armed forces

On Wednesday 17th June 2015 the House of Lords debated a motion in the name of Lord Sterling of Plaistow “to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that the current defence budget is sufficient to enable the Armed Forces to meet the needs of the United Kingdom’s long-term foreign policy.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate, highlighting the need to resource conflict resolution and post-conflict stabilisation in Syria and other parts of the region.

Bp Southwark May 2015The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I too welcome this debate and thank the noble Lord, Lord Sterling, for securing it. With the strategic defence and security review we have an opportunity for a wider debate on the politics of defence that might help to reshape our understanding of the purpose and task of our Armed Forces. The fundamentals that have underpinned UK foreign policy and defence spending in the past will need to be adapted to the changed circumstances we face, especially in the Middle East and our European neighbourhood. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark calls on Government to invest in peacekeeping and post-conflict role of armed forces”

Bishop of Coventry leads Lords debate on the 70th Anniversary of the Dresden Bombing

“I hope that we will be ready to proclaim afresh to the world that the story of our nations over the last 70 years proves that peace is possible and that friendship is better than enmity” – Bishop of Coventry 12/3/15

On 12th March 2015 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth, led a debate in the House of Lords on the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden. His opening speech can be seen below, along with the Minister’s response. The speeches of other members in the debate can be viewed on the UK Parliament website, here.

13.10 Bishop of Coventry

Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry leads Lords debate on the 70th Anniversary of the Dresden Bombing”

Bishop of Coventry on ISIS and UK Military Action in Iraq

“Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that when a madman came down the street swinging an axe it was our duty to not just apply plasters to the injured but to stop the madman with whatever means were expedient” – Bishop of Coventry, 26/9/14

Parliament was recalled on Friday 26th September 2014 in order to debate UK involvement in military action against ISIS/ISIL, following a request for assistance from the Government of Iraq. In the debate that took place in the House of Lords the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Rev Christopher Cocksworth, gave the following speech:

13.10 Bishop of Coventry

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Howe of Aberavon, referred your Lordships’ House a few moments ago to the parallel in the 1930s and 1940s in Europe. I should like to draw on one figure from that period which I found helpful in thinking about the matters before us. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that when a madman came down the street swinging an axe it was our duty to not just apply plasters to the injured but to stop the madman with whatever means were expedient.

The Government are seeking to join with others to stop the madman swinging the axe of cruelty, and we agree that stopped he must be. The question is: what are the expedient means for doing so? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry on ISIS and UK Military Action in Iraq”

Bishop of Derby on ISIS and UK Military Action in Iraq

Besides the current military need, we have to engage with the debate about what a good society is from the ingredients of politics and religion. We have to contribute to that together if we are to stem this tide and create a safer world to live in – Bishop of Derby, 26/9/14

Parliament was recalled on Friday 26th September 2014 in order to debate UK involvement in military action against ISIS/ISIL, following a request for assistance from the Government of Iraq. In the debate that took place in the House of Lords the Bishop of Derby, Rt Rev Alastair Redfern, gave the following speech:

Bishop of DerbyMy Lords, I invite us to think for a moment about the role of government in the wider strategy. A number of noble Lords have pointed out that this is not just a military issue; it is about religious and political matters. We might just note that some of us in a liberal society are in danger of separating religious and political issues. These are mixed up, but we need to look at them together. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby on ISIS and UK Military Action in Iraq”