On 9th October 2020 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Obligations of Hospitality Undertakings) (England) Regulations 2020. Alongside that it also debated a Motion from Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, “that this House regrets that the Regulations include further restrictions for the hospitality sector without introducing the additional measures which are needed to ensure (1) financial support for the businesses, and (2) the retention of the jobs of employees affected by the restrictions”. The Bishop of Blackburn spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, I am very exercised, as I imagine we all are, with the challenge of not just restrictions but possible shutdown and closure of different industries. Hospitality is but one: there are also entertainment and cinema, theatre, concerts and opera, aviation and travel, to name but a few. Those closures and threat of closures and the way they have been communicated are bringing grief, anxiety, debt and mental health issues to many lives and families, especially, I would say, in the north.
On 8th October 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Trade Bill in committee. The Bishop of Blackburn spoke in support of amendments that would:
require parliamentary approval of both negotiating objectives and of free trade agreements before the UK becomes a signatory to any agreements, to safeguard food, environmental, animal welfare and health standards.
ensure trade agreements cannot be implemented, signed or ratified unless they are consistent with the provisions of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Bishops’ speeches are below and the full text of the amendments beneath.
On 8th October 2020 Baroness Sherlock asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on (1) low-income families with children, and (2) the support provided to them by the social security system.” The Bishop of Blackburn asked a further question:
The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, a recent report by the Church of England and the Child Poverty Action Group highlighted the “disproportionate impact” of the pandemic on low-income families with children, saying that:
“Without a radical change in policy direction, the prospects for many families are likely to deteriorate further through the remainder of this year as unemployment rises”
On 5th and 6th October 2020 votes took place on amendments that Members of the House of Lords had tabled to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill. Eleven bishops took part across eight separate votes, supporting amendments that were passed by majorities of the House, with one exception. A summary is below and the full text of each amendment is beneath. The amendments will now be considered by MPs who will have to decide whether to accept or reject each.Continue reading “Votes: Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020”
On 8th September 2020 during the House of Lords second reading debate on the Government’s Trade Bill, Rt Revd Julian Henderson, the Bishop of Blackburn, delivered his maiden speech. The full text is below:
The Lord Bishop of Blackburn (Maiden Speech): My Lords, I am extremely grateful for the warmth of the welcome that I have received in my Introduction to your House. When I told my elderly father in 2013 that I had been appointed to serve as the next Bishop of Blackburn, many miles away from his home in Sussex, he was very quiet and somewhat disappointed that my wife and I would be living so far away, but then a light came into his eyes and he asked, “Does that mean you may be invited to enter the House of Lords?” When I replied in the affirmative, he said very quickly, “Well, then, that makes it all right.”
I come, first and foremost, as a Christian who will seek opportunity to support the convictions and values foundational to our faith in Jesus Christ, and to draw attention to those many today, around the world, who are persecuted for their faith in him, and then to advocate for the right for all to enjoy freedom of speech and belief, wherever they may live, and to do so in peace.
On 10th January 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Mark Hendrick MP about churchyard biodiversity in the Diocese of Blackburn:
Mr Mark Hendrick (Preston) To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, (a) what steps the Diocese of Blackburn has taken to work with Caring for God’s Acre to map flora and fauna on its Estate, (b) which churches in the Diocese of Blackburn have recorded flora and fauna in churchyards, (c) what notable finds of flora and fauna have been recorded and (d) what plans the Diocese of Blackburn has to take part in the Cherishing Churchyards Week from 3 June to 11 June 2017. Continue reading “Church Commissioners’ Written Answer: Churchyard Biodiversity”
On 5th September 2016 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Mark Hendrick MP about churches in the Diocese of Blackburn and the English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Review.
On the 10th of September 2015 Caroline Spelman MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner, answered five written questions from members of the House of Commons, about metal theft, closed churches and food banks.
The following two were grouped together:
Mr Mark Hendrick (Preston): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, which Church of England churches in the Diocese of Blackburn were subject to metal theft from rooves in (a) 2012, (b) 2013 and (c) 2014; and which such churches were redundant. 
Mr Mark Hendrick (Preston): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, which Church of England churches in the Diocese of Blackburn have been subject to metal theft from roofs in each year since 2012; and which such churches were redundant churches.