General Election 2017: Archbishops issue election letter

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On Saturday 6th May 2017 the Archbishops of Canterbury and York published a pastoral letter to the parishes and chaplaincies of the Church of England, about the General Election of 8th June.

The Archbishops urged people to set aside “apathy and cynicism” and to draw new inspiration from the ancient Christian virtues of “love, trust and hope”.

The three-page letter, intended to be shared in churches from 7th May onwards, encouraged voters to remember Britain’s Christian history and heritage as well as a concern for future generations and God’s creation as they make their decisions.

Following divisions of recent years, it called for reconciliation drawing on shared British values based on cohesion, courage and stability.

It upheld marriage, family and households as the building blocks of society which should be “nurtured and supported” as a “blessing”.

At a time when political differences may be felt more intensely than ever, the Archbishops insisted that Christians’ “first obligation” during the election and beyond is to pray for those standing for office and recognise the personal costs and burdens carried by those in political life and by their families.

But Christians also have a duty to play an active part in the process, they added. Continue reading

Archbishop responds to terror attack on Westminster

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On Thursday 23rd March 2017 the House of Lords paid tribute to those who had been killed and injured, and to first responders, during the previous day’s terror attack in Westminster. The House also heard a repeat of the statement given in the House of Commons by the Prime Minister. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby spoke of the “deep values” in British society that give us the strength to persevere:

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I associate myself with the thanks and tributes paid today, and especially our prayers and thoughts for PC Keith Palmer and for his family. I also acknowledge the work of so many members of the public who pitched in and did what they needed to do when faced with things for which they had never been trained or prepared. Continue reading

Votes: EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – ping pong

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On 13th March 2017, the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill during ping pong, after the Commons had refused to accept amendments from the House of Lords. A vote was held on two amendments tabled by the Liberal Democrats to reinstate previously accepted amendments on the status of EU nationals and on parliamentary scrutiny. Five Lords Spiritual took part.  Continue reading

Votes: EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – that the Bill should not proceed

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On 7th March 2017 the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at Third Reading. A vote was called on a Liberal Democrat motion that the Bill should not pass.Six Lords Spiritual took part in the vote. 
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Votes: EU (notification of Withdrawal) Bill – parliamentary approval of Brexit deal

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On 7th March 2017 the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at Report. A vote was called on a cross-party amendment to give parliament an approval vote on a negotiated Brexit deal. Ten bishops took part.  Continue reading

Votes: EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – second referendum

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On 7th March 2017 the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at Report. A vote was held on an amendment from Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Newby to hold a second referendum on the outcome of Brexit negotiations . Seven Lords Spiritual took part.  Continue reading

EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill: Archbishop of Canterbury – second referendum would ‘add to divisions’ in society

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abcvalues5On Tuesday 7th March 2017, the Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at Report stage and Third Reading. Liberal Democrat Peer, Lord Newby, tabled an amendment seeking a national referendum on the final Brexit deal. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby, spoke against the amendment. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury My Lords, I apologise to the House for not having been present at earlier stages of the Bill, for medical reasons beyond my control. The benefit for your Lordships is that I will not be on my feet for long.

I was disappointed to miss the excellent debates at early stages. What unites us in this House, across all Benches, is how seriously we take our role as scrutineers. On our best days, we approach each question not on the basis of tribe or loyalty, but on the strength of the argument and how it might work for the common good of the whole country. On these Benches, we are not a party, nor do we follow a Whip. Today will see a significant number of Bishops appearing, not because we hold ourselves out as constitutional experts but because we are deeply embedded in every local community in England. We may dress the same, but we have independent minds, as anyone observing church politics recently will be well aware. So I speak today not in a corporate but in a personal capacity. Continue reading