Votes: EU Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration

On 14th January 2019 the House of Lords voted to pass a ‘Motion to Regret’ the Government’s EU Withdrawal Agreement, tabled by the Leader of the Opposition Baroness Smith of Basildon. Five bishops voted, and whilst the Archbishop of Canterbury attended and spoke in the debate, he abstained in the vote. 

House of Lords Division Lobby

Baroness Smith of Basildon moved ‘That this House, while noting that it is for the House of Commons to determine the matter, considers that a no deal outcome to negotiations under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union must be emphatically rejected, and regrets that withdrawal from the European Union on the terms set out in the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration laid before Parliament would damage the future economic prosperity, internal security and global influence of the United Kingdom.

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Archbishop of Canterbury – a no deal Brexit would be a political, practical and moral failure

On 9th January 2019 the House of Lords debated the Government’s EU Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, spoke in the debate. His full speech, and extracts of the speeches of others across the three days of debate, are below:

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Archbishop of Canterbury leads debate on reconciliation in British foreign, defence and international development policy

On 14th December 2018 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, led a debate in the House of Lords on the Motion: “that this House takes note of the role of reconciliation in British foreign, defence and international development policy”.  The Archbishop’s opening and closing speeches in the debate are below. The Bishop of Coventry also spoke in the debate and his speech can be seen here.

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I am grateful to the usual channels for permitting this debate; to the noble Lord, Lord Collins of Highbury, for responding on behalf of the Opposition; to the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice; and to the Minister, the noble Earl, Lord Howe, for their time and contributions today. My noble kinsman Lord Williams of Elvel said when I came into the House some years ago, “The wonderful thing about the House of Lords is that whatever you say, there will be a world expert listening to you”. Looking down the list of those who will contribute today, I am conscious of the expertise in the House, including a Nobel laureate, and I am greatly looking forward to hearing from noble Lords whose combined expertise and experience is sure to provide us with much to reflect on.

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Archbishop of Canterbury speaks on EU Withdrawal Agreement

On 5th December 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion to take note of the Government’s EU Withdrawal Agreement, alongside an Opposition ‘motion to regret’. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, spoke in the debate, emphasising the importance of reconciliation and for the poorest in society to be protected should there be an economic downturn. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, of the choice of psalms that form part of our daily prayers in the Lords, we have Psalm 46, which we heard today,

“The nations rage, the kingdoms totter”,

and Psalm 121, which we will doubtless hear tomorrow,

“I lift up my eyes to the hills …

My help comes from the Lord,

who made heaven and earth”.

Eyes need to be lifted now more than ever, and that is a gift of this House, perhaps more than others. It is a skill and a calling here.

The withdrawal agreement and the political declaration are essentially political more than economic; the debate has moved on from the referendum campaign, which was the other way round. Another change, as we know particularly since yesterday evening, is that the great decisions are now left firmly in the hands of Parliament—as is right.

The decision on this agreement and consequent legislation is thus about not just the immediate politics but national policy and identity, and our future place in the world and how we develop it. It is long term: it is for the child born yesterday and not just for parliamentarians today. The decision must be made in the interests of those who will be here for the long term. In the midst of political struggle, that is a very hard thing to do, but it is the calling of Parliament and one to which it has risen in equal crises in the past. Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury speaks on EU Withdrawal Agreement”

Archbishop pays tribute to HRH the Prince of Wales on his 70th birthday

On 14th November 2018 the House of Lords paid tribute to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales on the occasion of his 70th birthday. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Hon Justin Welby, spoke on behalf of the Bishops’ Benches:

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Introduction of the Bishop of Bristol

On 23rd October 2018 the Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, was introduced to the House of Lords, and took her seat. Her sponsors were the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Salisbury.

Hansard records the introduction as:

23 October 2018 
2.38 pm

Vivienne Frances, Lord Bishop of Bristol, was introduced and took the oath, supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Salisbury, and signed an undertaking to abide by the Code of Conduct.

Archbishop speaks on freedom of expression, religious intolerance and prejudice in the UK

On 17th October 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Communities Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, “That this House takes note of the challenges posed by religious intolerance and prejudice in the United Kingdom.” The Archbishop of Canerbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, spoke in the debate. A transcript is below, with excerpts from the speeches of others in the debate:
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, and others who have made this useful and important debate possible. Like the noble Lord, Lord Hain, I agree with much of what the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, said. I agree also with the passionate and clear setting out by the noble Lord, Lord Hain, of the threats and incidents that have occurred in recent years. However, I want to focus more on religious intolerance and prejudice. If I have one concern, it is how we bring together religious tolerance, and stand against the kind of things the noble Lord, Lord Hain, spoke about, while maintaining freedom of speech.
In his book, The Home We Build Together, the noble Lord, Lord Sacks, wrote:
“Society is not a house or a hotel. It should be a home”.
The rising tide of anti-Semitism, with which I am deeply familiar through work with the Chief Rabbi, and Islamophobia, which we in the Church are deeply familiar with through working with Muslim leaders across the country, are just two illustrations of the narrowing of those who feel truly at home in the UK today. This terrible, storm-ridden climate is affecting people across a whole range of religious traditions.

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