In the House of Commons on 1 July 2014, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon St Tony Baldry MP, took part in oral questions to the Secretary of State for Justice. He asked a supplementary question on the commemoration of King Richard III, which was answered by the Minister of State, the Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP.
King Richard III
Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury) (Con): As the Minister said, Richard III was the King of all England, not just of York or Yorkshire. Is he aware that the Dean and Chapter of Leicester Cathedral see it as their responsibility to rebury the remains of King Richard and to commemorate his memory on behalf of the whole nation, and not just for Leicester or York?
Simon Hughes: I have every confidence that the Dean and Chapter of Leicester cathedral will do that job for the nation. I understand that they intend to apply for an extension so that it may be done in the spring of next year. I believe that it will be a great credit to Leicester and will bring great joy to the people of Leicestershire that a King of England is buried in their county.
On 30th June 2014, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, answered a written question on behalf of the Church Commissioners, on the subject of apprentices.
Robert Halfon: To ask the right hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, how many apprentices the Church Commissioners have employed in the last 12 months.
Sir Tony Baldry: The Church Commissioners currently directly employ one member of staff on an apprenticeship scheme; this role is designed to give experience of supporting the administrative work of the national institutional structures of the Church of England. There is an intention to roll out apprenticeships more widely should this trial proves successful.
Within the Church of England, there are jobs and opportunities for skilled professionals and their students to undertake apprenticeships, training, or conservation work on and within its buildings, stone/carpentry yards and stained glass workshops choir and organ schools.
There are also some more informal apprenticeship and paid internship opportunities within the local and national structures that are organised locally by those concerned.
On 25th June 2014, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, took part in a Westminster Hall debate on the teaching of British values. Taking inspiration from a speech made by Her Majesty the Queen at an event at Lambeth Palace, he spoke of the significant role played by the Church of England in creating and sustaining a space in society for the flourishing of those of all religions and those with no religious beliefs. He reflected on the Judeo-Christian values underpinning British society and the importance of tolerance and mutual respect in fostering good relations in communities and throughout society.
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Sir Tony Baldry): We are grateful to the right hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr Denham) for introducing this debate. I do not think we agree with his analysis. Continue reading “Second Church Estates Commissioner praises role of Church in fostering tolerance and mutual respect”
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”
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.
During the questions following an urgent statement in the House of Commons on extremism, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, raised the important role played by the Near Neighbours programme in promoting community integration.
Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury): May I remind my right hon. Friend that, after the general election, practically the first meeting the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government attended was at Lambeth Palace, where all the nation’s faith leaders were present? He committed the Government to fund and support the Near Neighbours programme, which enables faith communities throughout the country to work together to promote integration and tackle extremism. If this “duff up the Home Secretary” urgent question has achieved nothing else this afternoon, it will at least, hopefully, better explain to the Opposition and others where the division of responsibilities lie in government for counter-terrorism on the one hand and community integration on the other.
Mrs May: My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. He is right to draw attention to the excellent work the Department for Communities and Local Government has been doing under the leadership of my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State. Indeed, my right hon. Friend, the noble Baroness Warsi has been doing very important work to bring communities together, particularly faith communities, to share their experiences and increase understanding between them. That is a vital part of the integration work that I would have hoped we all, across the Chamber, accept is necessary. We should support it wherever we see it.
On 12th May 2014 the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure was passed by the House of Commons, after being scrutinised by MPs in a delegated legislation committee. A transcript of the debate, led by the Second Church Estates Commissioner Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, is below. A video of the session can also be viewed on the UK Parliament website, here.
Continue reading “Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure passes in Commons – debate”
“The ability to pray and worship as one wishes is a fundamental human right, and one that we, as elected democrats, should always seek to defend.” – Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, 1/5/14
On 1st May 2014 a debate was held in the House of Commons on ‘Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion’. The debate was led by the Alliance MP for Belfast East, Naomi Long. Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, who is the Second Church Estates Commissioner, took part in the debate and his speech is below. The full debate can be read on the UK Hansard website here. Continue reading “MPs debate freedom of thought, conscience and religion”
The number of visitors to cathedrals, not counting other churches, is some 11 million people a year, which is equivalent to current visitor levels to English Heritage properties – Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, 2/4/14
On 2nd April 2014 Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner, spoke in a House of Commons debate about the future of English Heritage.
Sir Tony raised the importance of ecclesiastical buildings to the cultural heritage of the nation and asked for assurances that altering the status of English Heritage would not change the valuable work done by their conservation specialists, so weakening the progress of research and support available to those who operate listed and heritage buildings.
Future of English Heritage
Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury) (Con): The whole House owes a debt to the hon. Member for Darlington (Jenny Chapman) for securing the debate. I declare an interest as a member of English Heritage. The image on this year’s membership card is a statue of King Richard III, whose mortal remains were recently discovered in a car park in Leicester—an outstanding feat of English archaeology. We now await the decision of the courts as to which of our noble cathedrals those mortal remains will be buried in. Continue reading “Cathedrals and the Future of English Heritage – Commons debate”
Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, answered a written question from Rt Hon Frank Field MP on clergy retirement. Continue reading “Clergy Retirement: Church Commissioners’ Written Answer”