“a policy that does not go beyond deterrence is not sufficient”
On November 25th 2021 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Hoey, “That this House takes note of the number of migrants arriving in the United Kingdom illegally by boat“.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Hoey, for securing this debate, especially at this time. I was helped this morning by the “Thought for the Day” from my colleague, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Leeds, in which he said that this is a time to dig deeper into our emotions and face the grief we feel at the loss of humanity. It is that sense of grief, our common commitment to the preservation and dignity of life, as well as to a passion for justice for those suffering the ills and evils of the world, which unites us. The noble Baroness, Lady Hoey, demonstrated that.
Our shared grief is the proof we do not really need of the humanity and vulnerability that unites us. These common concerns, which underpin both our aim to stop migrants making dangerous journeys and our grief today, are the same concerns and moral instincts that require us to sit back and face the reality that a policy that does not go beyond deterrence is not sufficient.
Chris Loder:  To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, how many services the Church of England has conducted specifically for the purposes of Baptising people seeking asylum in each of the last five years.
On 3rd November 2020 the Bishop of Durham received a written answer to three questions to Government on the right to work of asylum seekers:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 29 September (HL8116), what plans they have to publish the terms of reference for the Home Office review into the right to work of asylum seekers. [HL9359]
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 29 September (HL8116), what external organisations have been (1) formally, and (2) informally, consulted as part of the Home Office review into the right to work of asylum seekers. [HL9360]
On 5th October 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020 during the second day of its Report stage. The Bishop of Southwark spoke in favour of amendments to the Bill on
Child refugees and family reunion
Providing physical, not just digital, proof of settled and pre-settled status in the UK.
Placing an upper limit of 28 days on the time an EEA or Swiss national may be held in immigration detention.
The texts of his speeches are below. He and ten other bishops voted on these and other amendments to the Bill and the details are recorded here.
On 30th June there was a repeat of an Urgent Question in the House of Commons on support and accommodation for Asylum Seekers during Covid-19. The Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, asked a follow up question focusing onsupporting vulnerable people with wrap around care.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, vulnerability assessments are so important. There are questions about when they happen and the need for them to be ongoing and serious. There is also a question about how. Is the Minister satisfied that the vulnerability assessments are sufficiently tuned to the experiences and needs of asylum seekers in their extremity, and take into consideration the whole person and the impact of the ongoing experience of lockdown?
On 5th June the Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, received a written answer to two question from Baroness Williams of Trafford on refugee and asylum children.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL4110To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have put in place to ensure that children can continue to be transferred to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL4111 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the implications for the UK of successful transfers of separated children from Greece to other countries in Europe under the European Commission’s relocation scheme for transfers of unaccompanied children.
On 16th July 2019 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked the Government “what assessment they have made of reports that children have been separated from their parents in migrant detention camps on the United States border with Mexico, and whether the human rights of migrants have been violated in those camps”. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: Last week the six Texan bishops of the Episcopal Church on the border with Mexico wrote a letter stating:
“We call on our state and national leaders to reject fear-based policy-making that targets people who are simply seeking safety, and a chance to live and work in peace”.
On 26th November 2018 Lord Dubs led a short debate on the motion: ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the decision to allow Kindertransport children to come to the United Kingdom.’ The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, contributed to the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I add my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, for securing this debate and for all he does as the living embodiment in this House of the Kindertransport legacy. It was also my privilege to be present at the event at the Friends’ meeting house a couple of weeks ago, which was deeply inspiring.
On the 15th May 2018 Lord Beecham asked Her Majesty’s Government an urgent (private notice) question, “what measures are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of asylum seekers during periods of detention in the prison system and during their removal from the United Kingdom”. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow-up question about alternatives to detention: