In the House of Lords on 25th November 2014, Labour Peer Lord Liddle led a take-note debate on the case for the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union. The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, took part in the debate. In his remarks, he noted that a shift in focus from economic costs and benefits to the European Union’s role as an institution of peace and reconciliation is necessary for meaningful debate to take place on the UK’s place in the EU. He noted that reform was necessary, not least to rebalance the democratic deficit between national and supra-national governance. He noted that churches may be well placed to create safe and neutral spaces in which informed and serious debate on the UK’s place in Europe can take place.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Liddle, for securing this debate, although I enter it with some trepidation in such company. I am constrained to do so by the story of Coventry, from where I come, and by the originating Christian contribution to the possibilities that some form of common life might have for Europe and, thereby, for the world. When in your daily life you see the scars of warfare upon a city, when you hear the testimony of those who lost homes and families on one night in November 1940, when each year you are joined by Germans in the commemoration of your city’s 500 dead, and when you join them as they remember their city’s thousands of dead, you know that peace counts and that reconciliation is indeed a precious gift, and you give thanks for the project which has had peace as its fundamental purpose. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry takes part in debate on the UK’s membership of the European Union”