On 27th June 2017 the House of Lords debated the measures in the Queen’s Speech for justice and home affairs. The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, spoke in the debate, on mental health, domestic violence and prisons.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this important debate on the gracious Speech. I thank the noble Lords who have spoken thus far in what has been an interesting debate today.
I would like to draw attention to two or three things. The first is the fairly well hidden-away commitment in the gracious Speech to reform mental health legislation in order that mental health services might be prioritised in the NHS. Like much in the speech, the detail is particularly lacking at this point but I hope that noble Lords will join me in saying that that is an important and welcome development. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Bristol welcomes inclusion of measures on domestic violence”
On 6th December 2016, Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe asked the Government, “in the light of the findings of the review by Public Health England on the consequences of alcohol abuse, whether they will implement minimum unit pricing of alcohol.” The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill, asked a follow up question.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol My Lords, my understanding was that the Government’s view not long ago was that they had a problem with minimum unit pricing on the basis that it would unfairly impact moderate drinking. From what the noble Baroness said this afternoon, do I detect that the Government have changed their mind and that they are seriously looking at minimum unit pricing?
On 5th December 2016, Lord Jordan asked the Government “what steps they are taking to reduce the incidence of mobile phone use whilst driving.” The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, your Lordships’ House will appreciate that this is quite a difficult subject to regulate. I am grateful to the Minister for outlining the Government’s plans. Given that motoring organisations seem to be extremely dubious about the safety of using hands-free equipment in a motor car, do the Government have any plans to regulate car manufacturers’ ability to produce this equipment, which is distracting, I believe, and can cause accidents? Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks government about regulation of hands-free mobiles in cars”
On 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”
On 24th October 2016 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Bus Services Bill at its Report Stage. The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, took part in a vote on an amendment to the Bill tabled by Labour Peer Lord Kennedy of Southwark to remove Clause 21 , which sought to prohibit local authorities from forming companies to provide local bus services. Continue reading “Votes: Bus Services Bill”
“Not only children but adolescents and adults with Down’s syndrome live valued and valuable lives, contributing greatly to the welfare of those around them. All of this is undermined by the continued existence on our statute book of a law that, in effect, states that Down’s syndrome is a ground for abortion.” – Bishop of Bristol, 21/10/16
On the 21st October 2016 Conservative Peer Lord Shinkwin led a debate on the Second Reading of his Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill. The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, spoke in support of the Bill.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Shinkwin, for introducing this Bill. I understand that its focus is the principle of disability equality, not some underhand attempt to limit women’s access to abortion services. Noble Lords will, of course, have a variety of opinions on the ethics of abortion, but that is not, in principle, the focus of the Bill. It needs to be said that, in general, historically and indeed today, churches and other faith groups have always maintained a cautious approach to how the rights of women and the rights of the unborn child can somehow be maintained without, we hope, falling in to those who reside at the extremes of arguments around ethics on both sides of this debate. Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol supports Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill”