Bishop of Chester call for balance in way prison system is discussed and reported

On 24th January 2018 Lord Ramsbotham asked Her Majesty’s Government “how many prisons have been given action plans, or are in special measures, following inspection reports.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, bishops go into prison more often than most Members of your Lordships’ House. There are two prisons in my diocese. The Liverpool prison report is an absolute scandal, so far as I can judge. However, does the Minister agree that many prisons are functioning rather well in the circumstances they face and that there is a good deal that can be celebrated alongside the horror stories, which are indeed dreadful?

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Votes – Data Protection Bill [HL]

On 10th January 2018 the Government’s Data Protection Bill was considered at its Report Stage in the House of Lords. Votes were held on three amendments to the Bill, and the Bishop of Chester took part: Continue reading “Votes – Data Protection Bill [HL]”

Bishop of Chester calls for NHS to be given responsibility for those in police care

On 30th October 2017 a Government statement was repeated in the Lords on the publication of Dame Elish Angiolini’s Report of the Independent Review of Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody, and the Government’s substantive response. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a question after the statement:

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I very much welcome the report; I have simply read the executive summary. It is obviously important to respond well after death occurs, but equally, arguably, it is even more important to put in place measures to reduce the possibility of death. This is where the healthcare provision in the police service is especially important. Given that the NHS has a direct responsibility to provide healthcare in prisons but does not have an equivalent responsibility for those in police care, and given that for half the people the cause of death is alcohol and drug-related, is there not a need to join up A&E, the police, the whole NHS and police support? It is no doubt complex, but at the heart of this lies quite a simple issue. This ought to be brought within the ambit of the NHS, which is the case with prisons. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester calls for NHS to be given responsibility for those in police care”

Votes: Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill

On 11th October 2017 the House of Lords voted on an amendment to the Government’s Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill [HL]. Two bishops took part in the vote. Continue reading “Votes: Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill”

Lords questions on cats and dogs – Bishop of Chester responds

On 13th September 2017 Lord Black of Brentwood asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to address concerns about the breeding of dogs and cats.” The Bishop of Chester asked a follow-up:

The Lord Bishop of Chester: Do the Government have any concerns about the breeding of those Members of your Lordships’ House who wear dog collars? Continue reading “Lords questions on cats and dogs – Bishop of Chester responds”

Bishop of Chester reflects on future of electricity supply

On the 17th July 2017, the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster spoke in Lord Hollick’s debate to ‘takes note of the Report from the Economic Affairs Committee The Price of Power: Reforming the Electricity Market (2nd Report, Session 2016-17, HL Paper 113).’ He raised a number of points about the future of the energy market, including the importance of transparency and tackling fuel poverty.

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Bishop of Chester on the Balfour Declaration

On 5th July 2017 the House of Lords held a short debate on a question from Lord Turnberg, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in November.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in the debate.

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I want to make two points in my two-penn’orth of time.

First, the Balfour Declaration did not arise in a vacuum and in part reflected the very considerable contribution made by Jewish people, mainly recent immigrants of course, to Britain and the then war effort. To take an obvious example, it was a Jewish chemist at the University of Manchester who devised a clever new way to manufacture acetone from sugar and carbohydrate. It was a vital chemical in short supply for the manufacture of cordite. That chemist, Chaim Weizmann, went on to become the first President of the State of Israel. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester on the Balfour Declaration”