On 9th February 2017 Lord Singh of Wimbledon asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to combat religious extremism and to promote a cohesive society by enhancing religious literacy at all levels of government.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Aolan Smith, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, just three weeks ago I spent half a day in an immigration removal centre and so gained an up-to-date insight into some of the complex and sensitive issues that are being dealt with there. Concerns continue to be raised about the level of religious literacy among some of the asylum caseworkers. Is the Minister content with the level of training that they are getting in religious literacy and, if not, what can be done to improve it? Continue reading
On the 25th January 2017 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a question to the Government on the floor of the House of Lords about unaccompanied child migrants in Europe. His question, the response and full series of follow-up questions from Peers is reproduced below.
Asked by The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of recent analysis by UNICEF of the growth in the number of unaccompanied child migrants to Italy, what measures they are taking under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 to relocate child refugees from Italy to the United Kingdom. Continue reading
On 17th January 2017, Lord Bridges of Headley repeated a Government statement on Britain’s withdrawal from thew EU. The Archbishop of York, Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu, asked a follow up question.
The Archbishop of York My Lords, there are good things in the Prime Minister’s Statement. I have no intention of turning it into a Christmas tree on which to hang many baubles so that it collapses under the weight of them. Nevertheless, although the Prime Minister referred in her Statement to immigration and to welcoming the brightest and the best, I am surprised that, as a former Home Secretary who worked hard on immigration and the issue of asylum seekers in particular, she made no reference to asylum seekers. Continue reading
On Tuesday 7th June the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby and the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons. They were asked questions on the migrant crisis, asylum support, the EU and faith community relations.
The full transcript is available below or can be watched here – The Works of the Immigration Directorates (Q1 2016)
On 21st March the House of Lords considered the Government’s Immigration Bill at Report Stage. The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Revd Graham James co-sponsored and spoke in support of a series of amendments on care leaving support for young people in the immigration system. Introducing the amendments the Earl of Listowel said:
“These amendments ensure that young people leaving care are able to continue to access leaving-care support from their local authorities in circumstances where their departure from the UK is not envisaged. This includes young people with pending applications to remain in the UK whose long-term future may be in the UK, and young people who cannot leave the UK because there is a genuine obstacle to their removal.”
The amendments were not put to a vote. The Bishops’ speech and the Minister’s response are below.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, the situation of most young adults in this country reveals why this group of amendments is needed. I am glad to add my name to it and pay tribute to the noble Earl for his introduction. In 2015, half of all young people aged 21 in this country and 40% of all 24 year-olds were still living with their parents. As many Members of your Lordships’ House will know from personal experience, even adult children who have left home often return when need arises. Indeed, my own personal experience of adult children is that territorial control of bedrooms continues even when they have got married or have their flats elsewhere—I am thinking of introducing a bedroom tax in Bishop’s House in Norwich. Continue reading
On 21st March the House of Lords considered the Government’s Immigration Bill at Report Stage. Lord Alton tabled an amendment seeking to secure automatic asylum rights for members of groups subject to genocide and which gave power to the UK Supreme Court to determine whether a genocide had occured. The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, spoke in support of the amendment, and Lord Keen of Elie responded on behalf of the Government. In a subsequent vote the amendment was not passed, by 111 votes to 148. .
On 9th March 2016 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Immigration Bill at Report Stage. The House considered an amendment from Lord Alton of Liverpool that sought to give the right to seek work to those asylum seekers whose claims had not been processed within six months. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke in support of the amendment, which passed by a vote of 280 to 195.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I support the amendment and endorse everything that has been said already, and reinforce the point that the General Synod had a major debate on this and overwhelmingly supported such a move.
Some of the saddest conversations I have ever had have been with asylum seekers who came to this country and thought they would be welcomed, but have felt unwelcome; who want to be able to uphold their human dignity and feel that the best way of doing that is to become contributors to this society. Continue reading