Bishop of Chester speaks during Trade Bill amendments on Customs Union

On 23rd January 2019 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Trade Bill during its Committee stage.  The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke during debate on Amendment 24, moved by Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, which sought to keep the UK in a customs union with the European Union.

After Clause 5, insert the following new Clause—“Customs union​. It shall be the objective of Her Majesty’s Government to take all necessary steps to implement an international trade agreement which enables the United Kingdom to participate after exit day in a customs union with the European Union.”

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, it is always a pleasure to listen to the noble Lord, Lord Patten of Barnes, especially when religious imagery creeps into his speech with gospel truth and sacerdotal approaches. His opening remark reminded me of Trollope’s definition of hell: an eternity of listening to one’s own sermons. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Patten of Barnes, has similar feelings about his speeches, but they are always wonderful to hear.

Bishop of Chester questions strength of protections of new online pornography regulations

On 11th December 2018 the House of Lords considered a motion to approve the Online Pornography (Commercial Basis) Regulations 2018. During the debate the Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke:

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I am pleased to speak in general support of the regulations and guidance. They relate to matters which I and others raised during the passage of the Digital Economy Bill in 2017 and, more broadly, to issues debated by the House a couple of years ago in a balloted debate that I introduced. The subject of that debate was the impact of pornography on our society. While there was some disagreement over the impact of pornography on adults, there was virtual unanimity that children needed to be protected from pornography—as far as this could reasonably be achieved. I seem somehow, by default, to have become the episcopal expert on pornography. I am trying to live that down. It is just the way it has fallen—although I often find myself talking from these Benches about things I have not had much experience of. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester questions strength of protections of new online pornography regulations”

Bishop of Chester asks Government about nature of backstop in EU Withdrawal Agreement

On 10th December 2018, the Prime Minister’s statement on the UK’s exit from the European Union was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a question in response:

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I want to take the House back to the concept of a backstop. Is not the nature of a backstop that it must be a backstop? ​A backstop that one party can unilaterally abrogate somehow ceases to be a backstop. How can you negotiate away a backstop and it still remain a backstop? Continue reading “Bishop of Chester asks Government about nature of backstop in EU Withdrawal Agreement”

Votes – Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill

On 21st November 2018 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill [HL]. Two bishops took part in a vote on an amendment from Baroness Barker:
Continue reading “Votes – Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill”

Bishop of Chester asks about sexual abuse cases

On 18th October 2018 Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘whether they are aware of the case of “Sarah” who was, as reported in the Daily Mail on 14 September, held captive by a grooming gang for 12 years; and if so, what assessment they have made of that case and its implications.’ The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, the Minister’s answers have related largely to child sexual abuse, but this is not a child case—it is a case of a vulnerable adult. I know it is a difficult issue, but I wonder whether a culture in which it is acceptable to pay for sexual services does not encourage some of the regrettable attitudes we have seen in these dreadful cases. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester asks about sexual abuse cases”

Bishop of Chester asks Government to clarify appropriate use of term ‘victim’, in response to statement on new Victim Strategy

On 10th September 2018 a statement was repeated in the House of Lords about the Government’s victims strategy. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, responded to the statement with a follow-up question:  

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I wholeheartedly endorse and support what has been said about this strategy. I know from my pastoral work how the effects of crime can resonate throughout people’s lives, not least when it comes to sexual abuse that happened a long time ago. Nevertheless, can the noble and learned Lord comment on the term “victim” and when its use is appropriate and when it is not? Continue reading “Bishop of Chester asks Government to clarify appropriate use of term ‘victim’, in response to statement on new Victim Strategy”

Bishop of Chester highlights importance of credit unions and financial education

On 12th July 2018 Lord Leigh of Hurley led a debate in the House of Lords on the motion, “That this House takes note of the measures being taken to promote personal savings and the role they can play in building a stronger and fairer economy.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, on behalf of the House, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Lilley, for his splendid maiden speech and look forward to many contributions from him in future. He mentioned the kingdom of Mercia; Chester was the northern outpost of that kingdom, so I look forward to collaboration with the noble Lord, as we do collaborate on a think tank concerned with energy and climate policy. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester highlights importance of credit unions and financial education”

Bishop of Chester urges caution and clarity on any move to extend 10 year period for freezing embryos

On 12th July 2018 Baroness Deech asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to review the 10-year limit on the storage of frozen eggs for social reasons under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008.” The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, a man speaks with considerable hesitation on this very sensitive subject. Does the Minister agree that part of the success of the original Act was that there were certain clear boundaries laid out in it, not least the 14-day limit for experimentation on embryos? Therefore, whatever is decided in the future, I think the spirit of clarity is essential as we go forward. I can see the case for the 10-year limit being extended, but it needs to be done in a way that is quite clear in order to protect everybody.

Baroness Manzoor: The right reverend Prelate is absolutely right, and I have indicated that this is a very complex area that needs to be considered very carefully. ​Of course, we must not forget that fertility begins to decline after the age of 35, so we do need to keep these issues continually under review.

via Parliament.uk

Peers back call by Bishop of St Albans for Government to cut stakes on betting machines without delay

On 10th July 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question he had tabled to Government about the date for bringing in the promised reduction in stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals. The Bishop of Chester also asked a follow-up question and a full transcript of the exchanges is below:

Gambling: Fixed-odds Betting Terminals
Question

Asked by the Lord Bishop of St Albans:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the stake on fixed-odds betting terminals will be lowered to £2. Continue reading “Peers back call by Bishop of St Albans for Government to cut stakes on betting machines without delay”