Bishop of St Albans on the post-Brexit challenges for the NHS

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St Albans 2On 12th July 2017, Lord Warner led a short debate in the House of Lords on the question:  “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment have they made of the risks to NHS sustainability arising from the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union”. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, contributed to the debate.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Warner, for introducing this important topic for us this evening and for his helpful and comprehensive opening remarks.

Ensuring the sustainability of the NHS is undoubtedly a significant challenge, even before the potential consequences of Brexit are considered. The uncertainty surrounding the Brexit negotiations has created significant stress for many working in already pressurised health and social care systems.

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Queen’s Speech 2017: Archbishop of York calls for a Brexit that serves the common good

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Archbishop of YorkOn 28th June, the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu contributed to the ongoing debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Archbishop’s speech addressed Brexit and he called for cross-party work to secure a Brexit that serves the common good.

The Archbishop of York My Lords, I have followed with interest the debates on the Queen’s Speech over the past week. I have been encouraged to hear assurances from the Leader of your Lordships’ House and various Ministers of the Government who seek to govern with humility and to forge cross-party agreement where they can. That is as it should be, regardless of the numerical strength or weakness of the Government.

Many issues raised in the Queen’s Speech and the Government’s agenda give us the best opportunity to have that wider consensus. No area is more important than that when it comes to negotiating Britain’s departure from the European Union and to forging a new relationship—a deep and special partnership—with the EU. Indeed, the reality is that there is no way in which a minority Government can hope to get all their legislation relating to Britain leaving the EU through Parliament without the help of others. The Government need to make a virtue out of that necessity.

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Queen’s Speech 2017: Brexit and foreign policy must be underpinned by shared values, says Archbishop

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On 22nd June 2017 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby, spoke during the first day’s debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Archbishop spoke of the need for the UK’s approach to foreign affairs and Brexit to be informed by values that in turn ” spring from values lived clearly and coherently at home”. The full text is below, with excerpts from the speeches of others in response.

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I welcome the outward-looking emphasis in the speeches made so far, especially in the Minister’s speech and in that of the noble Lord, Lord Collins. What makes this such an exceptional time is that for perhaps only the second or third time in a couple of centuries, we find ourselves needing, as we come to Brexit, to redefine our whole approach to foreign policy and our place in the world. It should be a principal place, not only defined primarily by GDP, although that is important, or by military adequacy, although that is essential, as the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Craig, set out just now, but by respect internationally for our values, vision and determination and our capacity to deliver those things we promise. Continue reading

Bishop of Winchester asks about transparency of negotiations for leaving European Union

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Bishop of WinchesterOn 29th March 2017, the Leader of the House of Lords repeated a Government statement made in the House of Commons on triggering Article 50. The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a question.

The Lord Bishop of Winchester My Lords, from these Benches we welcome the Prime Minister’s Statement, especially the intention of both sides to work together as a priority to solve the complex issues of EU and EEA nationals, not least the many students and academics in our universities.

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Bishop of Leeds asks Government about farming and rural policy post-Brexit

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On Thursday 23rd March 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Teverson “That this House takes note of the Report from the European Union Committee Brexit: environment and climate change (12th Report, HL Paper 109).” The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, a number of questions have already been posed, and I pity the Minister for having to go through them in some detail. We heard earlier that we in this Chamber tend to be gloomy, and now we should be cheerful. I am neither; I am just puzzled—which is not a new experience.

From reading the report, which is a model of clarity, as are most of the Brexit reports that come from the various committees, it seems that, as we peel back the layers of the onion, we end up with more layers. I realise that that sounds paradoxical, but it seems to get more and more complex. The other night in the debate on Brexit and Gibraltar I tried to ask some questions about stress testing, to which I got no answer. So I shall try again, focusing very briefly on just one or two questions. Continue reading

Bishop of Leeds asks Government to stress test all scenario outcomes for Gibraltar in leaving the EU

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Leeds160620On 21st March 2017, Lord Boswell of Aynho asked Her Majesty’s Government what their response is to the Report from the European Union Committee Brexit: Gibraltar (13th Report, HL Paper 116). The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate, asking whether the Government were stress testing the outcomes of leaving the European Union on Gibraltar.

The Lord Bishop of Leeds My Lords, I endorse all that has been said so eloquently. The report is excellent, but for me it raises a number of questions. The main one concerns the fact that throughout the referendum campaign, and subsequently, we have repeatedly heard statements such as, “We will get a good deal”, and, “We will do this and we will do that”, when in fact we do not hold the power in a lot of this—it will have to be negotiated. Despite urging that we get the best for Gibraltar, I want to be assured that the Government are stress-testing all the scenarios, including the worst-case ones. We owe it to the people of Gibraltar to do that because it was not done in preparation for the referendum itself. Continue reading