On 27th October 2022, the Bishop of Durham asked a question about the suitability of the appointment of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary, in response to a Commons Urgent Question on her resignation and reappointment:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I do not come at this from any party-political angle. The question in my mind is this. Even if all the justifications are correct—and there are big questions about that—was it wise, in seeking to offer integrity and leadership, to appoint someone so rapidly who had raised so many questions about whether she was suitable to hold the office?
Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Con): Ms Braverman apologised. She resigned from a great office of state. She accepted the remedies of the Ministerial Code. Things then moved on at great speed. We have different circumstances. We have a Government who need to deliver for the British people in difficult economic circumstances. She needs to be able to play her part in making our borders safer and better, and she needs the support of this House.
On 23rd June 2022 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Morse, “That this House takes note of the impact on the democratic process of any reduction in the standards of behaviour and honesty in political life.”
The Lord Bishop of Blackburn: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Morse, for this debate because it gives us the opportunity to speak here about what the country is talking about: a general concern about behaviour and honesty in political life, and I trust, therefore, about the institution of Parliament and democracy. It raises the key question: are there standards and values that govern and guide our way of life and our dealing with one another? If so, what are they are where do they come from? Or is there a vacuum in which everyone decides what is right in their own eyes? I would argue that, without a moral framework, we are bound and dictated to by those who shout the loudest and make their voices heard. That is a dangerous path to go down.
On 24th November Lord Tyler asked the Government “whether their Ministers are expected to abide by the standards of conduct in the discharge of their duties as set out in the Ministerial Code.” The Bishop of St Albans asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I am proud to be part of a House that places such emphasis on standards and codes of conduct when working with civil servants and staff, and I take this opportunity to thank those who serve us so brilliantly in every aspect of this House. The Civil Service needs to attract the brightest and best, and at the moment it is in competition with many other organisations which, equally, are trying to attract young people. If it is widely perceived that they will not be valued and respected, will that not, in the long run, affect recruitment to the Civil Service? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans says perception that civil service is not valued will affect recruitment”