Bishop of Leicester speaks on constitutional reform, devolution, human rights and welfare in debate on Queen’s Speech

“A no vote on the EU would hasten the demise of the Union and lead within a generation to a rump nation shorn of Scotland and of membership of the EU and without strategic influence internationally.”- Bishop of Leicester, 1/6/15

On 1st June 2015 the Bishop of Leicester, Rt Rev Tim Stevens, spoke in the debate on the Queen’s Speech, on constitutional, human rights, local government, devolution and welfare reform issues. The full text of his speech is below and it can also be watched online here.

LeicesterThe Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, has reminded us, the Prime Minister has offered us what he calls,

“a clear programme for working people, social justice, and bringing our country together—put simply, a One Nation Queen’s Speech from a One Nation Government”.

It is therefore clearly our responsibility to evaluate the Government’s programme against that yardstick, and to measure the gracious Speech on its potential for national unity and social justice, at every point. Continue reading “Bishop of Leicester speaks on constitutional reform, devolution, human rights and welfare in debate on Queen’s Speech”

Bishop of Chester takes part in debate on devolution and the Scottish referendum

“To regard the English-Scottish relationship as simply the primary and maximal example of broader devolved relationships in the UK would be to invite a repetition of recent errors of judgment.”

On 29th October 2014, the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, took part in a House of Lords debate on devolution following the Scottish referendum, led by Baroness Stowell of Beeston. The Bishop reflected on his own experiences of studying and living in Scotland, and the relationship between England and Scotland. He urged caution in how politicians and the public approach matters of devolution and nationhood, noting that the post-referendum landscape was a good opportunity to renew the Union, whilst respecting cultural differences and political realities.

14.03 Bishop of ChesterThe Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, bishops need to tread warily when discussing matters Scottish. Although I am thoroughly English by birth and background, I can, I think, claim rather closer connections with Scotland than some whom I observe wearing the kilt at the Chester Caledonian Association dinners which I regularly attend.

Let me explain. I have a Scottish wife—my one and only wife, I hasten to add—and two Scottish degrees, all three from Edinburgh. I trained for ordination in Scotland as somebody sponsored by the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I have owned a house in Scotland for 25 years and will happily retire there in a few years’ time. I am Anglican co-chair of the current Church of England-Church of Scotland ecumenical conversations. So tread I shall, if nevertheless warily. If I have learnt one thing in my discussions with the Church of Scotland, it is that were the Kirk ever to contemplate having bishops, which remains, I think, doubtful, they would need to be very different from English bishops to be acceptable. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester takes part in debate on devolution and the Scottish referendum”

Queen’s Speech 2014: Bishop of Leicester on local government and civic identity

..without some risk, innovation and courage in this area, local government will continue to be starved not only of cash but of the civic talent it desperately needsBishop of Leicester, 5/6/14

On 5th June 2014 in the first of the responses from the Bishops’ Benches to the Queen’s Speech, Rt Rev Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester focused on the need for revitalisation of local government. Citing political disconnect and the pledge in the Queen’s Speech to deliver a fairer society, the Bishop called for a creative reinvigoration of the relationship between central and local government, not least in the areas of health and social care. He cited Leicester’s plans for the reinterment of Richard III as an example of good local partnerships that also help create a sense of shared local identity. 

14.04.01 Bishop of Leicester

 

The Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, I want to take the opportunity of this debate to raise some questions about the balance of power between London and the regions in our country today. The gracious Speech emphasised the new financial powers to be implemented for the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales. While this is welcome, it highlights even more acutely the need for urgent action to address the very different environment for local government in England, in spite of what the Minister briefly said to us about resourcing local economic partnerships.

Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2014: Bishop of Leicester on local government and civic identity”