The Bishop of Guildford asked the following question on 28th June 2022, during a debate on the Commonwealth:
The Lord Bishop of Guildford: My Lords, as the Minister knows extremely well, this week marks a brief lull between the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda last week and the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief in London next week. Given the overlap between those two conferences, what progress has been made on this basic human right, not least given that three of the Commonwealth nations—India, Pakistan and Nigeria—are among the worst when it comes to protecting the rights, and even the lives, of Christians and those of other faiths and beliefs?
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On 26th May 2022, the House of Lords paid tribute to Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee. The Bishop of Birmingham, Convenor of the Lords Spiritual, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I am delighted on behalf of the Lords spiritual to offer profound gratitude and hearty and—to echo the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge—joyful congratulations to Her Majesty the Queen on her Platinum Jubilee.
I may not have been aware of the events of 6 February 1952, unlike some of your Lordships, although, being born just two months later, I can claim to have been eager to participate in the new Elizabethan age. From these Benches, we reflect particularly on the solemnity of the Coronation, which happened nearly a year later, and the setting of the constitutional roles of the sovereign in the wider realm of faith. That faith has been evident, as the noble Lord, Lord Newby, mentioned, in the Queen’s consistent, unstinting and prayerful support not only for the Church of England as Supreme Governor but for the Church of Scotland and people of Christian faith across the United Kingdom and the world.
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On 30th June the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, received a written answer to a question from Baroness Williams of Trafford on sanctions towards Commonwealth citizens with right of abode but incorrect documentation.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: HL5625 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the level of oversight of sanctions, including denial of employment, health services, benefits and housing, to Commonwealth Citizens who do not have correct documentation but who have (1) right of abode or (2) right to remain in the UK.
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On 24th June the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark received a written answer to two questions to Government on the handling of cases of Commonwealth citizens who have resided a long time in the UK but without documentation .
Lord Bishop of Southwark:
(i) HL5624 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) gaps in national insurance records where the fault does not lie with the individual, and (2) whether Home Office caseworkers should be able to use discretion when dealing with Commonwealth Citizens, including those with right of abode, who have resided for a long time in the UK, but who do not have correct documentation.
(ii) HL5623 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice and training they have given to Home Office caseworkers about (1) the right of abode in the UK, and (2) the level of discretion that caseworkers can use when dealing with Commonwealth Citizens who have resided for a long time in the UK, but who do not have correct documentation.
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On 9th July 2019 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill. The Bishop of Birmingham commented on amendments:
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, perhaps I may comment on one or two of these amendments in one go. I was delighted to hear the enthusiasm for Birmingham. The noble Lord, Lord Rooker, did not say where he had been on holiday, but I hope he will choose Birmingham on a future occasion.
The things I would like to comment on in slightly more detail arise in particular in Amendment 5. Perhaps I may take the chance to commend the Minister and the Government, and the co-operation that there has been with local authorities and the local committee in getting the Games up and running in very short order. Time, energy, skill and money have been committed to make them a success.
Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham highlights potential legacy for young people from Birmingham Commonwealth Games”
On 13th March 2019 Lord Chidgey asked the Government “what progress they have made on building a fairer Commonwealth”. The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I congratulate Her Majesty’s Government on the usefulness of the programmes outlined on 14 January, not least in education. What steps do the Government of Zimbabwe need to take to secure the support of Her Majesty’s Government for an application to rejoin the Commonwealth? Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks about Zimbabwe rejoining the Commonwealth”
On 26th April 2018, questions were put in the House of Commons to Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, representing the Church Commissioners. Dame Caroline was asked by MPs about freedom of religion in the Commonwealth, recycling, rural schools, out of school education settings and thefts from churches. A full transcript is below.
The right hon Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked— Continue reading “Church Commissioner questions: religious freedom, schools, recycling, thefts from churches”
On 18th April 2018 Lord Suri asked Her Majesty’s Government “what director level staffing changes, if any, they intend to make in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to provide greater capacity for that department to co-ordinate, oversee and deliver policy to advance freedom of religion and belief.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, following on from that question, the Minister will be aware of the gathering at Lambeth Palace at the moment convened by my most reverend friend the Archbishop of Canterbury, which is bringing together parliamentarians and religious leaders from across the Commonwealth to help them work on good local practice. Would not the sort of director-level appointment mentioned in the Question to increase capacity help Her Majesty’s Government to partner with such initiatives to take them on to the next stage and provide co-ordination across the Commonwealth? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about plans for promoting freedom of religion and belief”
On 22nd March 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from the Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, “That this House takes note of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018.” The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, the Anglican Communion extends significantly beyond the nations of the Commonwealth. Nevertheless, for obvious reasons of history, there is a very substantial Anglican presence in many Commonwealth countries. I am therefore pleased to speak from these Benches in this debate—and I, too, look forward to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Geidt.
Within the Anglican Communion we have a rich network of companion links between dioceses in different parts of the world, whereby most Lords spiritual will have an active engagement with the life of at least one Commonwealth country. The nature of the Commonwealth as a network of autonomous free nations also has some parallel with the life of the communion, wherein each province is autonomous yet links together through what one might call family likeness, and the position of honour granted to the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester on importance of Commonwealth in building partnerships”
On Monday 15th January 2018 Baroness Berridge asked Her Majesty’s Government “how they will ensure the engagement of faith leaders in events around the Commonwealth Summit in April.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, the Minister may not be aware of the initiative of the lord-lieutenant of County Durham in having a schools conference in the lead-up, which will end up in Durham Cathedral. Will the noble Lord commend the work in schools, cathedrals and other major places of worship to engage in such things to enhance the Commonwealth conference? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham highlights work of schools and places of worship to support Commonwealth Summit”