On 25th September 2019 the Leader of the House of Lords repeated a statement from the Prime Minister on Brexit and the judgement of the Supreme Court on prorogation. The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, contributed to the debate:
Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, speaking on behalf of these Benches, I struggle to have to say that I was shocked as I listened to the repeat of the Statement. I could not believe that I was hearing it, from someone who knows that the nation is deeply divided and needs to find ways of working together. We need humility, repentance when necessary and an approach that listens carefully to the views of others rather than simply “Attack, attack, attack”. The Leader was not in the House earlier when my most reverend friend the Archbishop of Canterbury was here, but I encourage her to read his comments about the need for reconciliation—to find a different way forward to work together that is good for the nation. In one sense I am simply adding to the mood of the House as a whole, but I come at it from a very different point of view; I am not part of a political party and I have no axe to grind. I simply want to reflect that this was terrible. It was shocking. It is not worthy. I am sorry.
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On 25th September 2019 the House of Lords took note of the Government’s Spending Round 2019. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, contributed to the debate:
Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, like others, I welcome the fact that we are able to hold a debate on the spending round 2019. When the political point-scoring is redacted from the Chancellor’s original Statement, as I note it is on the GOV.UK website, there are aspects to welcome in the overall spending increase and some of the specific commitments. I am pleased that the Chancellor recognised in his speech that in the nation there are anxieties and divisions,
“between regions and communities, rich and poor, rural and urban, young and old”,—[Official Report, Commons, 4/9/2019; col. 180.]
and between black and white. The test for me is always around the impact of spending on the most vulnerable in our society. It is this that leads me to ask some questions.
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On 3rd September 2019 the Leader of the Lords, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, repeated a Government Statement about the G7 summit in Biarritz. The Bishop of Durham asked a follow-up question about girls’ education in Burundi:
Lord Bishop of Durham: I return to the question of girls’ education in the Statement. As it happens, last week I was visiting the tiny east African country of Burundi, and one of the most impressive pieces of work that I saw there was with adult women who had not had education when they were girls and who have now gone through literacy and financial and business training and were running small businesses in their local rural communities. I welcome the fact that more money is being put into the education of girls and of children in countries torn by conflict, because Burundi is one such. Will the Minister explain a little more about how that might be put into practice, particularly in a nation such as Burundi—and there are others—where at the moment there are restrictions on the Foreign Office giving it money because of its internal conflict, and will she promise that DfID will be able to put money into such countries through this kind of system?
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On 7th August 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer from Government regarding the children of restricted immigrants:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL17455 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 23 July (HL Deb, cols 668–70), how many children have been affected by having no recourse to public funds in each of the 54 local authorities; and what estimate they have made of the total number of children so affected. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about welfare of children of those with restricted immigration status”
On 5th August 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer from Government regarding support for Burundi’s government in hosting DRC refugees:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL17454 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what support they are offering the government of Burundi in hosting Congolese refugees being displaced through the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
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On 30th July 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer, from Lord Agnew of Oulton, regarding free school meals for children of those with no recourse to public funds because of their immigration status:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL17456 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 23 July (HL Deb, cols 668–70), what plans they have to review access to free school meals for children who are affected by having no recourse to public funds.
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On 30th July 2019 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer from Government, in reply to three questions about children and vulnerable EU nationals and the EU Settlement Scheme:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: (i) HL17344 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the status of the guidance issued on 3 April to all local authorities and health and social care trusts in regard to the EU Settlement Scheme and looked-after children and care leavers; and whether it is mandatory for local authorities to follow that guidance.
(ii) HL17345 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what evidence was collected on the children who were non-UK European nationals accommodated under section 20 of the Children Act 1989, their family situations and possible vulnerabilities, before drafting the guidance on EU Settlement Scheme and looked-after children and care leavers issued on 3 April.
(iii) HL17346 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to evaluate the impact of the funding of support and its provision to vulnerable groups, including analysis of what future work is needed to ensure that vulnerable groups are able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme after funding ends in March 2020. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about EU Settlement Scheme, vulnerable groups and children”