European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – Bishop of Leeds supports amendment on parliamentary oversight of future negotiations

On 15th January 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill at its second day in Committee. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in support of an amendment* to provide an ongoing role for both Houses of Parliament during the future relationship negotiations.

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I think that the context has changed. When the Benn amendment went through, it was suspected of having the intention to thwart or delay Brexit. We are not in that position now: Brexit is going to go ahead. Surely, then, it is the job of the whole of Parliament to defend and promote its own interests and those of the Government in the negotiations going forward. So, in a perverse way, this amendment strengthens the hand of the Government by bringing in Parliament to back it and provide support as they embark on their negotiations; it does not diminish it. Continue reading “European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – Bishop of Leeds supports amendment on parliamentary oversight of future negotiations”

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill: Bishop of Leeds cites dissatisfaction with EU citizens registration rules

18.12.05 Leeds Brexit deal debateOn 14th January 2020 Lord Oates (LD) moved Amendment 2 to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill during its Committee Stage*. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate on the amendment:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: I thank the Minister for giving way. Does she agree that many of the 2.5 million people who have registered have done so resentfully and unhappily, because the process that they have been made to go through is effectively applying for a status that many of them have for decades felt that they should have had automatically?

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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill: Bishop of Leeds says manner of withdrawal “will say something powerful about who we think we are”

Leeds0518bOn 13th January 2020 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the second reading debate in the House of Lords of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I look forward to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Barwell, for whom I had great respect when we served together in Croydon some years ago.

I think it is important that old arguments are not rerun in this debate: wherever one stands in relation to the 2016 referendum and subsequent debates, we are now where we are. I suspect, however, that it remains important for certain matters of principle to be rearticulated even at this stage, as the record will need to be clear when the history comes to be written, not least regarding the wisdom of writing into law hard deadlines for an implementation period. Do we not have anything to learn from recent history?

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Bishop of Portsmouth responds to Queen’s Speech – how to build ‘one-nation’

On 9th January 2020, the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke in the Queen’s Speech debate, about unifying the nation by building on the expansion of the Living Wage and addressing welfare, child poverty, homelessness and help for the disabled: 

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, it is stating the obvious to say that these are turbulent, uncertain times, perhaps the most turbulent in living memory, even when that memory belongs to Members of your Lordships’ House—a particular, special demographic. It is striking in the face of so much that is uncertain and unknown that the Government’s rhetoric is of clarity, confidence, and even dash. However, while the terrain might be new, much of the rhetoric is from an older school. What is novel is from whom it comes. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth responds to Queen’s Speech – how to build ‘one-nation’”

Bishop of London responds to Queen’s Speech – health and social care

On 9th January 2020 the House of Lords debated the Queen’s Speech for the fourth day. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, contributed:

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak during this debate on Her Majesty’s gracious Speech. I note my interests, which I have declared, and I will limit my comments purely to health and social care.

I welcome Her Majesty’s Government’s focus on the NHS: health, social care and the workforce. I also welcome the additional funding. However, we must not be misled into thinking that this is a funding bonanza; it will serve only to stabilise NHS services. Continue reading “Bishop of London responds to Queen’s Speech – health and social care”

Bishop of Leeds responds to Queen’s Speech on inter-connectedness in foreign policy

On 7th January 2020 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, opened the second day of debate on the Queen’s Speech, on the subjects of culture, language and foreign affairs:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, following the last debate on Iran, I think it is wise to take a step back from the detail, to which we shall shortly return, to consider culture and principle.

Twenty-twenty vision is something that, if claimed, proves only that the claimant is deluded. However, leaving fantasists to one side for a moment, we might take some wisdom from the late former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Helmut Schmidt. At the age of 91, he wrote a book called Ausser Dienst, or “out of office”, in which he advises young Germans considering a career in politics not to do so unless they speak at least two foreign languages to a competent degree. His reason? You can only understand your own culture if you look at it through the eyes of another culture, and to do that you need language; some things cannot be translated.

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about post-Brexit trade deals and agriculture

On 7th January 2020 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received two written answers from Government, about Bishop of St Albansagriculture in future trade deals, and the Agriculture Bill:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL71

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have, if any, to exclude agriculture from future trade deals.

 HL70 (ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the Agriculture Bill will be introduced to Parliament.

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Bishop of Durham asks Government about pre-Brexit guarantees for Asylum, Migration and Integration funding

Durham040219On the 5th November the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer from the Government, in reply to his question about EU-related immigration funding:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL92 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what guarantee, if any, has been provided to charities and non-governmental organisations who currently receive funding from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund through the UK responsible authority rather than through direct bids to the European Commission. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks Government about pre-Brexit guarantees for Asylum, Migration and Integration funding”

Bishop of Salisbury responds to a motion to regret the Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

Salisbury231018On 23rd October 2019 Lord Duncan of Springbank moved a Statutory Instrument for approval entitled “Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019”. The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, responded to the debate and subsequent regret motion from Lord Stevenson of Balmacara.

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Vote – Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

Lords voting Lobby
House of Lords Division Lobby

On 23rd October 2019 the House of Lords considered the Statutory Instrument titled the Freedom of Establishment and Free Movement of Services (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. Two bishops voted to support the regret motion tabled by Lord Stevenson:

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