On 20th June the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Berridge, “that this House takes note of the incidence of anti-Semitism worldwide.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I echo the excellent opening speech by the noble Baroness, Lady Berridge, by saying that I view anti-Semitism as perhaps the greatest tragedy and disgrace in the history of the Christian Church.
Christian complicity arose after the break between the Church and the Synagogue in the late first century of our era, and with the emergence of the view that the Christian Church had replaced the Jews as God’s chosen people. The properly New Testament view that Christians had been graciously grafted into Israel to share its promises and inheritance reasserted itself only in the 20th century, after nearly two millennia. This was partly the result of renewed biblical scholarship and partly due to the efforts of a small but distinguished group of continental Christian theologians led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth, who saw the evil of Nazism.
On 21st March 2019 Lord Lexden asked the Government “what plans they have to extend fiscal and legal protection to close family members, particularly siblings, who live together long-term in jointly owned property.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, over the years, speakers from these Benches have completely supported the thrust behind the Question from the noble Lord, Lord Lexden. It is not only a matter for the Treasury and tax, but a matter of justice. If another party gets into power, perhaps the inheritance tax thresholds might even come down in due course—who knows? This does not seem a strong argument for denying an obvious need for justice in these cases.
On 20th March 2019, the House of Lords debated the Government’s Spring Budget Statement. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, it is a privilege and a challenge to follow such a brilliant speech from someone who knows his way around the subject. If you want to find good things to tax, I always say that you should start with sin: find a new sin and tax it. I rather agree that HS2 is a sin, not for adding capacity, which I am all in favour of, but in doing so in such an unnecessarily expensive way. For me, trains go quite fast enough already and it could have been done far more cheaply without factoring in the speeds in a small country. As I follow the noble Lord’s speech, I think of St Paul, who once began by saying, “I speak as a fool”. I do so too, a little, after that wonderful description of the financial landscape.
On 20th March 2019 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked the Government “what steps they are taking to prevent destitution among newly recognised refugees in the light of the British Red Cross Report Still an ordeal, published in December 2018.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, is it not the 28 days that people have to make arrangements, when they change from being asylum seekers to being refugees, that is the difficulty? It takes me more than 28 days to open a bank account if I am on good form, and there are lots of other things that they have to think about. Could the period not be extended beyond 28 days? Universal credit often does not kick in for at least 35 days. The 28-day period is just too tight for people in these circumstances.
On 13th March 2019 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Trade Bill. Two Bishops voted on an amendment moved by Lord Fox.
Lord Fox moved amendment 24. Insert the following new clause:
“Trade agreement with the EU: mobility framework
It shall be the objective of the Secretary of State to take all necessary steps to
secure an international trade agreement with the European Union which
includes a mobility framework that enables all UK and EU citizens to exercise
the same reciprocal rights to work, live and study for the purpose of the
provision of trade in goods or services.”