Bishop of Carlisle on Her Majesty the Queen’s faithfulness

The Bishop of Carlisle received asked the following question on 18th July 2022, in response to a question from Lord Farmer about whether Her Majesty the Queen might be given the additional title ‘the Faithful’ :

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Farmer. I declare my interest as Clerk of the Closet, an office of service to the Crown dating back to the 15th century. At her coronation, the Queen first gave her allegiance to God before anyone came forward to give their allegiance to her.

Does the Minister agree that the generous, hospitable and open interpretation by Her Majesty of that duty to people of all faiths and none, over so many years, is not only a foundation stone of our constitution but a reason to feel all the more thankful for the lifelong service Her Majesty has given?

Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle on Her Majesty the Queen’s faithfulness”

Bishop of Blackburn makes his valedictory speech in debate on the Union of the United Kingdom

The Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Revd Julian Henderson, made his final speech to the House of Lords during a debate on the Union of the United Kingdom, on 23d June 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Lisvane, for this opportunity to make a brief contribution to this debate on our union, although I have learned a new meaning of the word “brief” while I have been in your Lordships’ House: it does not always mean “short”. I am sorry if I disappoint the hopes of the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, about my valedictory speech.

My time in your Lordships’ House has been limited—just over two years—partly because it has been right for my female colleagues to take precedence in joining your Lordships’ House and partly because it has been constrained by the pandemic. There has been a lot to learn as well as to admire in a place of such expertise and wisdom, but I regret that I have not been able to become more involved in the serious business of your Lordships’ House.

Continue reading “Bishop of Blackburn makes his valedictory speech in debate on the Union of the United Kingdom”

Bishop of Birmingham pays tribute to the Queen on her Platinum Jubilee

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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Bishop of Durham: why are bishops in the Lords?

It is an extraordinary responsibility to attend Parliament. As bishops, our faith compels us to raise questions with those in power about people on the margins, children, the voiceless, the many attacks on human rights abroad, and solutions to the climate emergency.

We are not there to simply defend the interests of the established church, or speak only for people of faith, but to play our own part in holding our elected powers to account on behalf of those who need us most, and help the process of making better law.

We have been at the forefront of recent campaigns in Parliament on justice for leaseholders facing fire safety costs, on prison reform, welfare of migrants and refugees, and on harms caused by gambling.

Continue reading “Bishop of Durham: why are bishops in the Lords?”

Queen’s Speech – Bishop of Blackburn on the Union and constitution

On 13th May 2021 the Bishop of Blackburn spoke in the second day of the House of Lords debate on the Queen’s Speech, focusing on the Union and the constitution.

My Lords, I add my congratulations on both confident maiden speeches today. I note that in the gracious Speech two days ago several references were made to strengthening the ties and integrity of the union, making the United Kingdom stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before. The pandemic and the period that follows it will give us a unique opportunity to ask what kind of a society we want to be and what changes we need to make for our own good and, more importantly, for that of future generations. I understand the desire to return to greater freedoms, but we must resist going back to how things were. Instead, we must plan for a better future.

It is encouraging to hear that the Government intend to achieve this strengthening by levelling up opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom and within each of our four nations. Levelling up has become something of a new watchword in political circles and appears as a welcome driver for many of the intentions outlined in the gracious Speech, seeking to remove those inequalities within our culture that prevent all people and communities from reaching their God-given potential and calling. The pandemic has brought to the surface a number of issues which have been hidden under the radar for far too long and not given the attention they deserve.

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Queen’s Speech – Bishop of London on constitution, the Union, health and social care

On 13th May 2021 the Bishop of London spoke during the second day of debate on the Queen’s Speech. Her speech focused on the constitution and Union, and on integrated health and social care.

My Lords, I add my voice to welcome the noble Baroness, Lady Fraser of Craigmaddie. I thank her for her maiden speech.

There is much to welcome in this gracious Speech, including its focus on recovery from the impact of Covid on our lives and on the economy, the investment in skills and infrastructure that it promises, and its whole-country approach. A new programme implies a clean sheet and a fresh start, but I hope that the unresolved issues from the close of the last Session—namely those relating to the then Fire Safety Bill and the then Domestic Abuse Bill—will be resolved in this Session. I hope that the financial burdens on leaseholders will stay at the forefront of the Government’s concerns and be quickly resolved in the building safety Bill. Additionally, it was disappointing that the Domestic Abuse Bill reached Royal Assent without securing protection for all women, namely migrant women. I hope that the Government will uphold their promise to treat victims as victims first and foremost, and at least ratify the Istanbul convention before the nation’s 10-year anniversary of its signing in the summer of next year.

The previous parliamentary Session will for ever be marked in our minds due to coronavirus. I will say something about integrated health and social care, but will start off with the subject in hand: the constitution.

Continue reading “Queen’s Speech – Bishop of London on constitution, the Union, health and social care”

Vaccines for developing world, poverty in the pandemic, devolution and Ethiopia  

In the House of Lords on 14th January 2021 the Bishop of St Albans received written answers to questions on vaccines for developing countries and the situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia while the Bishop of Durham received answers to questions on the recent updated report by the Child Poverty Action Group and the Church of England on Poverty in the pandemic.
Meanwhile in the Chamber, the Bishop of Birmingham raised the issue of devolution in England with the Government during Lord Young’s Oral question about the formation of a Constitution, Democracy and Human Rights Commission. Text below:

Continue reading “Vaccines for developing world, poverty in the pandemic, devolution and Ethiopia  “

Bishop of Worcester – “the established church is a significant force for good”.

On Wednesday 28th November 2018 Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the case for the disestablishment of the Church of England.” Several Members asked follow-up questions, including the Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, and a transcript of the exchanges is below:

Church of England: Disestablishment

Lord Berkeley: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the case for the disestablishment of the Church of England.

Lord Young of Cookham (Con): My Lords, none. Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester – “the established church is a significant force for good”.”

Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Bristol welcomes inclusion of measures on domestic violence

On 27th June 2017 the House of Lords debated the measures in the Queen’s Speech for justice and home affairs. The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, spoke in the debate, on mental health, domestic violence and prisons.

The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this important debate on the gracious Speech. I thank the noble Lords who have spoken thus far in what has been an interesting debate today.

I would like to draw attention to two or three things. The first is the fairly well hidden-away commitment in the gracious Speech to reform mental health legislation in order that mental health services might be prioritised in the NHS. Like much in the speech, the detail is particularly lacking at this point but I hope that noble Lords will join me in saying that that is an important and welcome development. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Bristol welcomes inclusion of measures on domestic violence”

Bishop of Birmingham supports Bill to reduce size of the House of Lords

On the 21st October 2016 Conservative Peer Lord Elton introduced the ‘House of Lords Bill’ –  a Private Member’s Bill to reduce the size of the House of Lords. The Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd David Urquhart, spoke in support. A number of other Peers made reference to the Lords Spiritual and extracts of their remarks can be found after the Bishop’s speech, below. 

birmingham-211016cThe Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I am resisting the temptation to tear up my notes and respond to the noble Lord’s last quote. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Elton, for again bringing before us this important matter. It is widely agreed in many places that as weseek to be effective as a House, the size of the House is of great concern. Of course, as has already been said by the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, recent changes have attempted to alleviate the size of the House—we have adopted retirement provisions—yet they have not been sufficient to alleviate the flow of new Members. The statistics have already been referred to.

From this Bench, the Lords spiritual have spoken consistently over the past few years in support of reform aimed at addressing the size of the House—and we do so again, keeping in mind the aim of the House to improve the core functions of our scrutiny of legislation and government proposals from the other House, and of offering expertise and independence, which have already been referred to. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham supports Bill to reduce size of the House of Lords”

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