Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill: Bishop of Carlisle supports amendment to prevent use of children as covert agents

On 3rd December 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill 2020 at its Committee Stage. The Bishop of Durham had co-sponsored two amendments aimed at restricting or regulating the use of children as covert agents. The Bishop of Carlisle spoke in his place, in support of the amendments. As is usual practice they were withdrawn after debate and may be returned to at a later stage:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I speak in support of Amendment 43, in the names of my right reverend friend the Bishop of Durham, the noble Lord, Lord Young, and the noble Baronesses, Lady Chakrabarti and Lady Bull, and Amendment 60, in the names of the noble Baronesses, Lady Young and Lady Hamwee, and the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy of Southwark. As we have heard, both concern the treatment of children.

We should not for a moment underestimate some of the evils in our society that the Government and the forces of law and order are tasked with confronting. Some of those evils involve the abuse of children and vulnerable people, including, as we know, the scourge of county lines drug gangs, sexual predators and traffickers. It does not take much imagination to see how, as a result of this, there is a periodic temptation to use children as covert assets. We must clearly guard against that temptation; as we have already been reminded, our first duty must be to the care and well-being of children. This applies all the more to children who find themselves in vulnerable and harmful situations, such as those used and abused by criminal gangs.

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Bishop of Carlisle asks about access to Child Trust Funds

On 3rd December 2020 during questions in the Lords on access to Child Trust Funds, the Bishop of Carlisle asked about provision for those who have learning disabilities but may also have life-limiting conditions:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, does the Minister agree that some children with learning disabilities who want to access trust funds might have life-limiting conditions? There might not be much time available for legal processes to be gone through. Can she assure the House that, if such situations have not already been considered, they will be given the attention that they deserve?

Bishop of Carlisle asks about access to affordable cancer treatments in developing countries

On 30th November 2020 questions were put in the House of Lords on vaccine distribution. The Bishop of Carlisle asked a question:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, for obvious reasons we have focused largely on equal access to vaccines but, given the broader significance and implications of this Oral Question on affordable drugs and the fact that Global Cancer Week took place earlier this month, are any negotiations currently taking place on access to affordable cancer treatments, especially in developing countries? Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle asks about access to affordable cancer treatments in developing countries”

Bishop of Carlisle calls for Lords select committee to deliver cross-party plan for social care

On 28th October Lord Young of Cookham asked the Government “when they will publish their proposals for the reform of social care.” The Bishop of Carlisle asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, given the long delay in the publication of proposals for the reform of social care, the impact of Covid-19 on carers and care homes, and the implications of reform for the future of the NHS—not to mention the political sensitivity and complexity of the subject, which has been referred to—does the Minister agree that the best way to achieve the cross-party consensus to which he just referred would be through an ad hoc Lords Select Committee, as already proposed from these Benches? Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle calls for Lords select committee to deliver cross-party plan for social care”

Bishop of Carlisle asks Government about counselling and mediation services for divorcing couples

On 27th October 2020 the Bishop of Carlisle received a written answer to a question on counselling and mediation services for divorcing couples:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the passing of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 on 25 June, what information and guidance they plan to provide online about the availability of counselling and mediation services for couples going through the procedure of divorce. [HL9117] Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle asks Government about counselling and mediation services for divorcing couples”

Votes: Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill

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”

Votes: Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020

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”

Bishop of Carlisle asks about COVID-19 bereavement support and counselling for young people

On 24th September 2020 questions were put to Government in the House of Lords about provision of mental health support to young people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, asked a question:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I spoke last week with a young person whose father, sadly, died recently of Covid-19, and she told me about the impact that experience has had on her own mental health. I am therefore grateful for the reassurance from the Minister that Her Majesty’s Government will be strengthening access to mental health services in our schools and, I hope, in our colleges and universities. Are there any plans for bereavement support and counselling to form part of that provision? Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle asks about COVID-19 bereavement support and counselling for young people”

Bishop of Carlisle asks Government to reassure EU and UK citizens of their treaty commitments

On 15th September 2020 Lord Lexden asked the Government “what role the Law Officers have in ensuring that the rule of law is maintained in (1) the development of domestic legislation and (2) their policies relating to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from and future relationship with the European Union.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, can the Minister confirm that the Government recognise that any attempt unilaterally to modify the terms of the withdrawal agreement would adversely affect not only future trade partners but also the confidence that EU citizens resident in this country will place in the commitments that the United Kingdom has made under the agreement? The confidence of British citizens resident in EU countries would also be damaged if they saw that treaty commitments could simply be set aside. Can he offer any reassurance in either regard? Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle asks Government to reassure EU and UK citizens of their treaty commitments”

Bishop of Carlisle asks Government about tackling health inequalities

On Tuesday 15th September 2020 Lord Hunt of Kings Heath asked the Government “in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, what plans they have for changes to the NHS long-term plan.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, given that the health protection remit of Public Health England is to be subsumed into the new national institute for health protection, can the Minister tell us what steps Her Majesty’s Government will take to ensure that health inequalities are robustly addressed through programmes of health education and promotion, as envisaged in chapter 2 of the NHS Long Term Plan? Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle asks Government about tackling health inequalities”