EU Withdrawal Bill: Bishop of Leeds urges Peers to ‘model good ways of disagreeing’

On Tuesday 30th January 2018, the Lords considered the Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill at Second Reading. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate, focusing on the purpose and tone of Brexit discussions. 

Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, many speakers will attend to the technical and legal details of the Bill and they will be better equipped to do so than I am. I therefore want to use my time to pay attention to a question that lies behind the nature of the Bill and the choices that we are required to make in scrutinising and attempting to improve it. This question applies to all sides of the argument, whether we think that leaving the European Union is an unmitigated disaster or the best thing since Winston Churchill mobilised the English language and sent it into battle. Continue reading “EU Withdrawal Bill: Bishop of Leeds urges Peers to ‘model good ways of disagreeing’”

Bishop of Derby on need for a strategic policy to put languages at the heart of learning

On Thursday 18th January 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Coussins “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the importance of modern foreign language teaching in schools and universities, and of the impact of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on the sustainability of that teaching.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Coussins. I want to say something about the general importance of the subject, and then some specific things about business and primary. The noble Baroness has set out a lot of the data, which is the foundation.

In my tradition there is a myth called the Tower of Babel, which many of you will know, which points to the reality of the human condition being that we live in a massive number of language groups. That is either a challenge for conflict or an opportunity for co-operation. The key is for language therefore to be used creatively. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby on need for a strategic policy to put languages at the heart of learning”

Bishop of Leeds says conduct of Brexit is aiding Russian policy of destabilising the West.

leeds-20117-bOn the 18th December 2017 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, responded to a Government Statement on the recent European Council Meeting: He asked about the UK approach to Russian foreign policy and the progress made with the Brexit negotiations:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, the Leader seems disappointed that the Statement has not been welcomed as it might have been. I do welcome it but I do not think it is as it has been portrayed; that is, the progress that has been made thus far is simply the opening gambit and the real hard work is going to come in the next phase. It seems to me that so far not a great deal has been achieved, except that we can go on to talk about the next phase. I will make a quick observation and then put a question. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds says conduct of Brexit is aiding Russian policy of destabilising the West.”

Bishop of Leeds highlights importance of creative economy to post-Brexit trade

leeds-20117-bOn the 18th December 2017 Lord Whitty led a debate on the report of the European Union Committee – Brexit: trade in non-financial services (18th Report, Session 2016-17, HL Paper 135). The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I am no expert on the technical elements of trade in non-financial services, so have listened to speeches with both interest and admiration. Most of the points I wanted to make have already been made, so, given the time constraints, I will make a single point that lies behind the detail of the report—the reason why the frictionless movement of talent matters. I invite the Minister to note what I say, but not necessarily respond to it tonight.

Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds highlights importance of creative economy to post-Brexit trade”

Bishop of Leeds asks Government about timing of talks on air travel post-Brexit

On 20th November 2017 Baroness Doocey asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact that the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union Open Skies Agreement would have on the United Kingdom’s tourism industry.” The Minister was unable to give a clear commitment to deal with aviation separately and in advance of the main negotiations with the EU on Brexit, so the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, if it is not possible to give that commitment now, is it possible to give an idea of a timeline as to when that commitment can be made, when the aim might become a reality? Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks Government about timing of talks on air travel post-Brexit”

Bishop of St Albans asks about welfare standards for transported animals after Brexit

On 24th October 2017 Lord Allen of Kensington asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to increase the current penalties, including custodial sentences, for animal welfare offences in England to bring them into line with the European average.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, in the light of the Brexit debates on agriculture and other matters, can the Minister assure us that Her Majesty’s Government will ensure that in future, after Brexit, the regulations requiring very high standards of care for animals that are being bred and transported in this country, will continue to be applied to animals that are brought in from other countries with lower standards? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about welfare standards for transported animals after Brexit”

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”