Bishop of Birmingham affirms commitment of bishops to oppose antisemitism, adopt IHRA definition and its examples

On 13th September 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Popat, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what actions they are taking to reassure the Jewish community over the impact of anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd David Urquhart, spoke:

The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, as we have heard, there is a need for constant vigilance to ensure that antisemitism plays no part in the life of our country. To continue its determination in this aim, the College of Bishops of the Church of England, building on 75 years of friendship marked by the founding of the Council of Christians and Jews, has adopted and adhered to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, including all examples without qualification or exception. This is in the context of our conviction, which I trust will be affirmed today by Her Majesty’s Government, that anyone involved in political, spiritual or national life should reject all language and activity that leads to prejudice, stigma or hatred towards people on the grounds of their religion, culture, origins, identity or beliefs. This includes issues related to those we are discussing today, such as Islamophobia. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham affirms commitment of bishops to oppose antisemitism, adopt IHRA definition and its examples”

Bishop of Birmingham on importance of commemorating anniversaries of D-day and the Battle of Arnhem

On the 11th of September Lord Black of Brentwood asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to commemorate the 75th anniversaries of D-day and the Battle of Arnhem in 2019”. The Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, asked a follow up question focusing on the importance of educating young people about past events in an effort to promote peace in the future.Birminghamsizedebate171219b

The Lord Bishop of Birmingham:…My Lords, I do not have to declare such a close interest in the name Urquhart as the noble Lord across the Chamber, but I bear the same surname. These events were some time ago. In addition to the very important commemorations which the Church and other faiths fully support and participate in, I encourage the Minister to talk to colleagues in the Department for Education to ensure that they live on in the memory and experience of our young people, so that they understand—particularly in the light of current world events—the consequences of keeping the peace and the mobilisation of great forces. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham on importance of commemorating anniversaries of D-day and the Battle of Arnhem”

Bishop of Birmingham supports proposals to reduce size of House of Lords

On 19th December 2017 the House of Lords debated  its size, in the form of a Motion from  Lord Burns ‘That this House takes note of the Report of the Lord Speaker’s committee on the size of the House’. The Bishop of Birmingham and Convenor of the Lords Spiritual, Rt Revd David Urquhart, spoke in support of the Committee’s proposals and said that bishops would look at the question of their numbers when legislation on Lords reform, backed by consensus, was forthcoming:

The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, as convener of the Lords spiritual, I welcome warmly the report of the Speaker’s Committee and pay tribute to the work of the noble Lord, Lord Burns, and his fellow committee members for their thoughtful and thorough attention to the question of the size of the House, which we all agree is in need of urgent resolution. I notice that the word “magic” has already been used in the debate, but the desire for love has also been added at Christmas time. To hear the leader of the Lib Dems imploring the work of the Lord in becoming pure is a most encouraging start to this debate.

The main recommendations of the committee are ones that I hope most of us in this House can rally behind. They offer a set of suggestions which, with good will and a spirit of co-operation, not least from the party leaderships, will provide us with a route map for reducing the membership of this House to a more acceptable level. That is something that my predecessors as convener and many others on these Benches have supported consistently. Rather than comment on the detail of the proposals, I thought that it would be helpful to focus my remarks on what the report did or did not say about the Lords spiritual. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham supports proposals to reduce size of House of Lords”

Bishop of Birmingham asks Government to increase support for the financially excluded

birmingham-211016cOn the 18 December 2017 Baroness Tyler of Enfield led a debate on the report of the Select Committee on Financial Exclusion –  Tackling Financial Exclusion: A country that works for everyone? (Session 2016-17, HL Paper 132). The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart was a member of the Committee, and spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, as we resume the debate on Tackling Financial Exclusion: A Country that Works for Everyone?, there can be no more poignant reminder of the issues raised in the committee’s report and the seriousness with which we need to take its challenge. As the Bishop of Kensington said in the service [for Grenfell Tower survivors and community] just mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, we can be too wrapped up in our own interests and prosperity, but we might just now turn outwards towards each other—a society known for listening, compassion and love.

Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham asks Government to increase support for the financially excluded”

Autumn Budget 2017 – response from Bishop of Birmingham

Press release from the Church of England website:

Responding today (22nd November 2017) to the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget Statement, the Bishop of Birmingham, Rt. Revd David Urquhart, Convenor of the Lords Spiritual, said:

“The Chancellor’s Budget has gone some way to deal with the immediate problems facing our economy, housing and NHS, but it could have gone much further to help the many at the sharp end struggling to get by.

“Across the country churches support and are in touch with those who experience poverty or financial difficulty as a result of low pay, illness, or debt. The Budget statement provided an opportunity to make a difference to the lives of the most disadvantaged at a time when the cost of living is rising. The country faces substantial financial challenges and the growth forecast downgrades are worrying. But whilst the Chancellor has limited room for manoeuvre, there is more that could have been done to alleviate the situation of those who are struggling to manage. Deficit reduction is important, but should be achieved in ways that promote fairness, generosity, and sustainability. Bishops frequently raise these issues in the House of Lords and in meetings with ministers, and will continue to do so. Continue reading “Autumn Budget 2017 – response from Bishop of Birmingham”

Former Bishop of London to become life Peer

From the website of the Archbishop of Canterbury:

Thursday 12th October 2017

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warmly welcomed the announcement by 10 Downing Street that the former Bishop of London is to be made a life peer.

Bishop Richard, the 132nd occupant of the see, retired in March of this year after almost 22 years in the post. He will sit in the House of Lords as a crossbench member. Continue reading “Former Bishop of London to become life Peer”

Grace and compassion needed in Brexit disagreements says Bishop of Birmingham

On 12th September 2017 the House of Lords debated a Government motion on Brexit, “That this House takes note of the position papers and future partnership papers published by Her Majesty’s Government on the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union.” The Bishop of Birmingham spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I am grateful for the debate and for the papers. It may help noble Lords to rest their ears for a moment if I say that my concluding remarks will be very similar to those of the noble Lord who has just spoken. It may also help your Lordships to know that—in confession terms, if I take the lead—I have not read all the papers in detail. None the less, I would have liked those sorts of details much earlier, I would have liked them to be debated and scrutinised, and I would have liked them to achieve a little more consensus as we get into the timetable of these negotiations.

Before and after the referendum, we were treated to the lazy slogans “Brexit means Brexit” and “No deal is better than a bad deal”. I am hopeful and expectant that those moments are over and that now, with these papers and other details, we are getting down to some serious work. Continue reading “Grace and compassion needed in Brexit disagreements says Bishop of Birmingham”