On 13th January 2015, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, spoke during the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill. In his remarks, the Bishop praised the collaborative working between the Department for Communities and Local Government and local community projects aimed at community cohesion and the prevention of radicalisation. He noted that prevention was most effective when tackled at the long-term grass-roots level. He urged caution over the implementation of parts of the legislation that deal with placing obligations on public institutions, at the risk of creating climates of fear and suspicion within these institutions.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I share with every other reasonable person a horror of the evil actions and effects of terrorism, grief for the suffering caused by terrorist acts and a heartfelt concern for those whose lives are lost or wounded through it. Events in Paris last week clearly illustrated this to us all. However, those events also highlight the need to ensure that we keep a global awareness and perspective, as the fresh Boko Haram attacks in Baga and its surrounding villages last Friday show us. Here, around 2,000 were killed. As we consider counterterrorism and security here in our land, we must stay aware of the global nature of the issues. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham speaks during debate on Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill”
The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, contributed to the debate on amendment 43 to the serious crime bill, moved by Baroness Walmsley, which places legal obligations on people in positions of power to report allegations of abuse, making failure to do so a serious crime. The Bishop argued in favour of this amendment, highlighting cases over the years where failure to report allegations of abuse had often led to cases of widespread and prolific abuse in institutions of a highly serious nature. Baroness Walmsley the lead sponsor of the amendment decided when concluding her remarks at the end of the debate to withdraw amendment 43 following assurances given by the Government Minister, she said “I am delighted that there will be a public consultation’ … ‘I hope that they will make their voices heard.”
Read the full transcript of his speech here:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I once again support the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley. Indeed, since I last spoke in this place on this matter, the need for an obligation to be placed
“My Lords, I support the amendment. I begin by pointing out that, had I been in this House two years ago, I would not have supported it. It is my experience of listening to and hearing stories, not just from within the church sector but from many sectors, that has led me to be convinced that this is a move we need to make” – Bishop of Durham, 15.7.14
On 15th July 2014, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, co-sponsored two amendments to the Government’s Serious Crime Bill, during its Committee Stage. The first amendment sought to make three small changes to legislation making child neglect a criminal offense – raising the age of those covered by the provisions to 18, and made clarifications to the ways in which neglect would be classed as a criminal offense. The second amendment sought to create a duty to report abuse in institutions and activities where there are children and vulnerable adults. Both amendments were withdrawn after they had been debated, pending assurances from the Government.
On 15th July 2014, Lord Storey askedHer Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to prevent and tackle child abuse in the United Kingdom. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, in pursuing a review into questions of institutional child abuse, are her Majesty’s Government committed to recognising that listening to the voices of survivors and victims of child abuse is vital at every stage of this inquiry; that their voices, through for example the Stop Church Child Abuse campaign, are clear that ultimately only a full public inquiry will do; and that Sir Keir Starmer would be a trusted member of the inquiry panel?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The right reverend Prelate again makes a very important point. Let me assure him that the whole intention of this inquiry is to make it open and transparent. While it has been set up on a non-statutory basis at the current time, if the chairman and the panel decide that this requires a statutory underpinning then the Government have already committed to that—indeed, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has done so. The right reverend Prelate also raises the important point about ensuring that any bodies involved in protection of children from child abuse—be that in the church or voluntary sectors or across the board—are also included in providing evidence. In terms of the specific suggestion, I shall certainly take that back.
“Powerful people have engaged in serious abuse and have worked with each other to create opportunities and share their vices and victims. As a nation we have to face up to the seriousness of institutionally based abuse against the most vulnerable in our society, both children and adults, which has gone on in the past and, sadly, continues today” – Bishop of Durham, 26.6.14
On 26th June 2014, Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Walmsley led a debate in the House of Lords to take note of the measures being taken by Her Majesty’s Government to prevent and address the abuse of children and vulnerable adults. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, the Church of England’s lead bishop for safeguarding, took part in the debate. He focused his remarks on needing to listen to the voice of survivors, and put forward a number of measures to reflect this need – including mandatory reporting by professionals, creating safe spaces for victims of abuse, and broadening the law to strengthen preventative measures. He concluded by calling for an independent public inquiry into institutionally-based abuse.Continue reading “Bishop of Durham calls for independent public inquiry into institutionally-based abuse”
“Young people…have been told that their value and contribution to the world is in work and their economic contribution. They have been told a lie…We have to help our young people to understand their true value as human beings first and foremost—but yes, we have to help them to find good, meaningful work” – Bishop of Durham, 10/6/14
On 10th June 2014 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Rev Paul Butler, gave his maiden speech to the House of Lords, during the debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop spoke about the attributes and needs of the Durham diocese, his experience of the global church, and his concern for young people’s social and economic welfare. He voiced his support for the Living Wage and plans within the Queen’s Speech for laws to tackle the emotional abuse of children.
This was the seventh contribution to the debate on the Queen’s Speech from the Bishops’ Benches. You can also watch a video of the Bishop delivering the speech on parliamentlive.tv
The Lord Bishop of Durham (Maiden Speech): My Lords, I begin by thanking your Lordships for the way in which I have been welcomed and supported as I have entered this noble House. That support has been full of wisdom, including guiding this Bishop as to how to kneel correctly during Prayers, for which I was extremely grateful. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham gives maiden speech in House of Lords”
On 3rd March 2014 Paul Roger Butler, Lord Bishop of Durham, was introduced and took the oath, supported by the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Chester, and signed an undertaking to abide by the Code of Conduct.
Photos: Taking the Oath in the Chamber, holding the New Testament; Bishops’ Robing Room, being congratulated on his introduction by his predecessor as Bishop of Durham, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
On 16th May 2012 the House of Lords debated the proposals in the Queen’s Speech for business and the economy. The debate heard the maiden speech of Rt Revd Justin Welby, who as the recently appointed Bishop of Durham, had been introduced to the Lords on 12th January 2012. The text of his speech is below, with extracts of comments by Peers.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I am astonished to be here for two reasons. First, I am astonished that I am here at all. Secondly, I am astonished at the warm welcome that I have received, for which I very much thank your Lordships and all the staff and people who work in this place, who deal very adequately with Bishops wandering around, bleating miserably that they are lost—or, at least, this particular Bishop. It has been a great privilege to have found myself helped in so many ways. I am also grateful to the noble Baronesses, Lady Wilcox and Lady Royall, for their warm welcome today. I look forward to hearing the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Ashton of Hyde, a little later. Continue reading “Justin Welby’s maiden speech in the House of Lords”