Bishop of Portsmouth on defence and diplomacy challenges post-Brexit

On 8th December 2016 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Sterling of Plaistow, “That this House takes note of the impact of the withdrawal from the European Union on the United Kingdom’s armed forces and diplomatic service.” The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke in the debate:

portsmouth241016The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, there are few constants or certainties in Brexit other than that Britain’s future will be markedly different. Brexit will have far-reaching implications for our place in Europe and the wider world. From a security perspective, the decision to leave the EU represents as significant a shift as the decision in the late 1960s to withdraw from bases east of Suez. If that was not daunting enough, Brexit also represents the biggest administrative and legislative challenge that a Government have faced since 1945, and is likely to shrink government departments’ bandwidth to engage with other issues. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth on defence and diplomacy challenges post-Brexit”

Bishop of Leeds asks about effect of media on understanding of judicial independence

LeedsOn 7th December 2016, Lord Beith asked the Government “what steps they are taking to promote public understanding of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.” The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, will the Minister define a little further what is meant by public education, as it seems that one of the most powerful shapers of world views is what people see in the headlines of newspapers and what they see in the media, not just what is taught to them rationally, for example in schools?

Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks about effect of media on understanding of judicial independence”

Bishop of Chester asks Government not to lose sight of cultural and scientific links to Europe in Brexit negiotations

14.03 Bishop of ChesterOn the 1st December 2016 Lord Liddle held a debate on ‘the best options for the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union following the referendum vote to leave’. The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke about the foundations of the idea of ‘Europe’ not just as an economic construct but as a civilisation. 


The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, the Motion before us is not limited to economic issues, although the debate so far has understandably concentrated on them. I would like to take a slightly broader look at our future relationship with the EU. Of course, the social and economic issues associated with the four freedoms will inevitably take centre stage over the next few years, and it will be an anxious time for many. I hope it will also be a time of opportunity for at least some, perhaps many; we will see. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester asks Government not to lose sight of cultural and scientific links to Europe in Brexit negiotations”

Bishop of Portsmouth highlights uncertainties for Higher Education of EU withdrawal

My background covers different sorts of universities: Hertfordshire and Portsmouth, Oxford and Cambridge, and Durham and Manchester. I studied in three, taught economics in two, was a chaplain in another and have been a governor in two. I draw your Lordships’ attention to my entries in the register of interests.

In such very varied universities, the present excruciating uncertainty following the Brexit vote is having a significant impact in a range of areas.

Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth highlights uncertainties for Higher Education of EU withdrawal”

Bishop of Bristol asks about the expertise required for exiting the EU

Bristol160226 cOn Monday 24th October 2016, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, the Lord Privy Seal, repeated a statement on the European Council. The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Rev Mike Hill, asked a follow up question.

The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Baroness for repeating the Prime Minister’s Statement. She has emphasised something that all noble Lords will recognise: this is a matter of huge complexity. To articulate one anxiety, the noble Baroness said that we are the first country to leave the EU—I do not know whether she regards that as a notable first—but, if it is as complex to leave the EU as your Lordships’ House believes, can she assure us that somewhere there is the expertise necessary to enter into negotiations of complexity in such a way that will really benefit the people of the United Kingdom? Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks about the expertise required for exiting the EU”

Bishop of Ely on the challenges for the UK following the EU referendum

On 5th July 2016 the House of Lords debated a motion to take note of the result of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, spoke in the debate, focusing on leadership, common values, education and the rural workforce.  

Ely 2The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, I cannot match that passion, but I join other noble Lords in saying how much I appreciated the speech earlier of our boss—I mean of my friend, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury. He and I have both worked in the north-east and been welcomed by the people of that area, many of whom voted to leave, just as people in fenland in my current diocese and people in east Kent, beloved of the most reverend Primate, did. These people were not, it seems to me, voting against the European Union but were making a great cry—a lament—about not having been heard for several generations by us, the political class. This was their opportunity to make us listen, after feeling excluded for so long. Continue reading “Bishop of Ely on the challenges for the UK following the EU referendum”

Bishop of Ely urges Government to speak out against attacks on EU citizens living in UK

On 4th July 2016 Lord Soley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what role they see for the United Kingdom in relation to the European Union”. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow up question.

ElyThe Lord Bishop of Ely: Whatever happens in the long term, in the meantime will the Government speak up trenchantly against the ugly and unseemly behaviour of some of our fellow citizens in the way they speak to and are violent towards citizens from the EU who are resident here, and who are productive citizens in our midst?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The right reverend Prelate is of course not only right but clearly has the complete agreement of this House. This country has proved throughout its history that it not only tolerates but welcomes those who come here to contribute to our society. I deplore attacks upon them.


Bishop of Chelmsford calls for action to counter fear and race hatred after EU referendum

Chelmsford 251115On 27th June 2016, Baroness Stowell of Beeston repeated a statement on the result of the EU Referendum, made by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a follow up question:

Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, some commentators have said that the result of the referendum was a resounding victory for Brexit. I am not sure that I see it that way: 52 to 48 is, to my mind, a rather narrow victory. Where there is no overwhelming consensus, there is an overwhelming need to take account of the views of others. Nobody likes a bad winner. There has been too much hyperbole and spite in this debate. Yes, one side did win, the result is clear and we have to act on it. Those who advocated leave obviously need to take the lead in the negotiations that will take place. But we urgently need the sort of wise leadership that can build consensus. We need some sort of national Government—a coalition of good will where we can work together.

I serve the diocese of Chelmsford, which is, “east London in and Essex out”. Yesterday I spoke to a head teacher who said that the children were frightened when they went to school on Friday and that she had seen an increase in race hatred and intolerance. What plans are there to address the lack of unity in our nation and to counter the fear and race hatred that is on the rise? Can we ensure that those who lost this vote, as well as those who won, can be part of the planning going forward? Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford calls for action to counter fear and race hatred after EU referendum”

Bishop of Leeds asks about effect of UK leaving the EU on UK nationals living abroad

BpLeeds2On the 4th, 9th & 14th March 2016 the Bishop of Leeds received written answers to questions about the implications for UK citizens overseas if the UK should decide to leave the EU.

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the implications of a decision by the UK to leave the EU for those UK nationals resident in other EU member states. [HL6398]

Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks about effect of UK leaving the EU on UK nationals living abroad”

Divisions – European Union Referendum Bill

On 14th December 2015 the House of Lords considered the House of Commons’ reasons for rejecting Lords amendments to the Government’s European Union Referendum Bill on extending the vote to 16 and 17 year olds. Peers voted on a new amendment from the Opposition, which sought to reinstate the lower voting age in the European referendum. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, took part. Continue reading “Divisions – European Union Referendum Bill”

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