On 13th June the House of Lords continued to debate the Government’s Schools Bill in committee. The Bishop of Bristol spoke in the debate, on behalf of the Bishop of Durham:
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I speak in place of my colleague, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham, who unfortunately cannot be present today. I declare his interest as chair of the National Society.
I rise briefly to welcome Amendment 40 in this group, which offers real clarity on the issue. We welcome the recognition it shows that the religious body must be involved in giving an interim trustee notice to the proprietor of an academy school with a religious character. We are grateful for the Minister’s continued work on this and hope this might provide a little encouragement at this point.
Continue reading “Schools Bill: Bishop of Bristol speaks on amendments in committee”
On 17th May 2021 the Bishop of Bristol spoke during the third day of debate in the House of Lords on the Queen’s Speech. She focused on the environment and the Government’s Environment Bill.
“My Lords, along with others in this House, I welcome the speeches of the noble Lords, Lord Coaker and Lord Morse. I remember making my own maiden speech in the debate on the Humble Address in 2019, though of course in rather different circumstances. When I gave that speech, we were looking ahead to 2020 as the year of climate action. Instead, the impact of Covid-19 has understandably been the focus of global activity. However, the situation for our planet is becoming more urgent, not less. With another year of action now lost because of Covid-19, we need meaningful global, national and local agreements on the climate and biodiversity issues more than ever before.
Continue reading “Queen’s Speech – Bishop of Bristol on climate and environment”
On 18th January 2021 in the House of Lords the Bishop of Bristol asked a question about mental health, the Bishop of Coventry asked about Armenian heritage.
Meanwhile the Bishop of St Albans and the Archbishop of York received written answers to questions on gambling-related harm and Ethiopia.
Full text below.
Continue reading “Mental health, Armenia, gambling, Ethiopia”
On 29th October Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale asked the Government, “following the deaths of at least four people in the English Channel, what steps they are taking to protect asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking who are fleeing persecution and seeking refuge in the UK.”. The Bishop of Bristol asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Bristol [V]: My Lords, as we have already heard, the death of anyone trying to reach the UK in search of safety is tragic, and the tragedy is multiplied when it is the death of a family. Save the Children is right to say that the English Channel must not become a graveyard for children. With that in mind, can the Minister update the House on the resumption of the refugee resettlement programme which was suspended in March? Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol on migrant tragedy: English Channel must not become a graveyard for children”
On 27th October 2020 Lord Woolley of Woodford asked the Government “following the announcements of the Welsh and Scottish Governments, as well as local councils, whether they will end the free school meals postcode lottery and provide free school meals for eligible children in England during the school holidays until Easter 2021.” The Bishop of Bristol asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Bristol [V]: My Lords, although I agree with the Government that free school meals are not the long-term solution for holiday hunger, the reality is that it is now half-term and children are going hungry. Does the Minister agree that although the current crisis demands short-term solutions, there is also a much bigger question at stake? Will she tell us what sustained support the Government will be offering to address the concerns up to Easter 2021, and their plans to tackle the underlying and increasing issues of child poverty in the longer term? Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks Government to tackle school holiday hunger and long term child poverty”
On 27th October 2020 Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate asked the Government “what steps they are taking to protect victims of domestic abuse.” The Bishop of Bristol asked as follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Bristol [V]: My Lords, I add my voice to the concerns raised by many others in this House about how migrant women will be affected by the Domestic Abuse Bill. I thank the Government for their £1.5 million commitment to support research into the particular needs of this vulnerable group, but how many women is the scheme expected to support and what specific questions will the pilot be seeking to answer? Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks Government about plans to help migrant women suffering domestic abuse”
On 21st October 2020 three votes were held on the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill. Members of the Lords were asked to agree with the decisions of the Commons to reject amendments they had passed to the Bill, or to propose further amendments in lieu of them. Several bishops took part:
Continue reading “Votes: Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill”
On 5th and 6th October 2020 votes took place on amendments that Members of the House of Lords had tabled to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill. Eleven bishops took part across eight separate votes, supporting amendments that were passed by majorities of the House, with one exception. A summary is below and the full text of each amendment is beneath. The amendments will now be considered by MPs who will have to decide whether to accept or reject each. Continue reading “Votes: Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020”
On 3rd September 2020 the Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Vivienne Full, responded to a Government answer to an urgent question, on refugees.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, the Minister referred to the refugee resettlement scheme. However, as far as we can tell, refugee resettlement remains paused since March. Can she tell me what plans the Government have to launch the new global resettlement scheme and why they have continued deportations and not inward refugee resettlement?
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con): The right reverend Prelate is absolutely right that it has been difficult since March. We took 52 people from Greece back in March but it has been incredibly difficult because of the lack of flights coming here. Of course, that has led, in some sense, to people reverting to trying to get here in small boats, and that is not at all the situation we want because they are simply being exploited. What was the right reverend Prelate’s second point?
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: The global resettlement scheme.
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con): Obviously we will restart it as soon as it is practical and safe to do so.
On 3rd September 2020 a Government statement on COVID-19 was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, asked a question about treatment of those with long-term effects:
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, North Bristol NHS Trust has recently reported on an audit of 110 patients discharged after being severely ill with Covid-19. Of these, 75% were still experiencing serious symptoms three months later. This is just part of the mounting evidence of the long-term effects of Covid-19 even on those with mild infection in the acute phase. What steps are the Government taking to raise public awareness of so-called long Covid and to invest in the care of those who are now chronically ill? Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks about those suffering long-term effects of COVID-19”