On 23rd July 2018 the Government held a debate ‘To move that this House takes note of the preparations and negotiations connected with the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.’ The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate:
The Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, other noble Lords will be addressing the details, which leaves me to take a step back to look at culture. At the committee stage of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill I spoke about matters such as the corruption of the public discourse, asking that we in this House do not lose sight of the end to which Brexit is supposed to be the means. I tried to pose the existential questions of who we think we are and for whom we are doing what we are doing. However, the debate has coarsened, the ideological divide deepened and poor use of language worsened. What I have to say has nothing to do with leave or remain but where we are now and what shape we might be in in the future.
Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds warns of ‘dishonest language and rhetoric’ in Brexit debate”
On 19th July Lord Higgins led a debate on the motion, “That this House takes note of the impact on parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom of the use of referendums.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I, too, congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, on securing the debate, which, as others have observed, is timely. A man who secured a silver medal in the 440 yards relay in the Commonwealth Games in 1950 knows how to pace himself. I also congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Pickles, on his maiden speech with all its fascinating revelations. I look forward to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, shortly.
Of course, I acknowledge that the United Kingdom cherishes a parliamentary democracy. That key point, and all that flows from it, has been powerfully argued by the noble Lord, Lord Higgins. It is the genius of this country that over time we have made use of ancient yet enduring institutions and constantly evolving constitutional practices to serve a thoroughly modern society. The Church was present in the counsels that predated Parliament and the estates that first gathered here. It has witnessed both the supremacy of the other place and the extension of the franchise. We are being looked down upon in stone effigy by those who witnessed Magna Carta, including two archbishops. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark – challenges to parliamentary democracy posed by referendums”
On 29th March 2017, the Leader of the House of Lords repeated a Government statement made in the House of Commons on triggering Article 50. The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a question.
On 17th January 2017, Lord Bridges of Headley repeated a Government statement on Britain’s withdrawal from thew EU. The Archbishop of York, Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu, asked a follow up question.
The Archbishop of York My Lords, there are good things in the Prime Minister’s Statement. I have no intention of turning it into a Christmas tree on which to hang many baubles so that it collapses under the weight of them. Nevertheless, although the Prime Minister referred in her Statement to immigration and to welcoming the brightest and the best, I am surprised that, as a former Home Secretary who worked hard on immigration and the issue of asylum seekers in particular, she made no reference to asylum seekers. Continue reading “Archbishop of York asks Government about situation of those seeking asylum in the UK after Brexit”
On 7th November 2016, Lord Bridges of Headley repeated a Government statement on the judicial ruling that Parliament must trigger the process for leaving the European Union (Article 50). The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Rev Nick Baines, asked a follow-up question.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, it has been said that 17 million people voted in favour of leaving the EU; that still leaves a very divided country. Not everybody who voted to remain can be assumed to be trying to thwart the decision of the British people simply by asking legitimate questions. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds responds to statement on Article 50 ruling”
On 18th October 2016, Lord Collins of Highbury asked the government what assessment they have made of the potential effect on peace and stability in Europe and around the world of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate about the importance of continued interdependence for peace and stability.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds My Lords, recognising that this debate and that to come on Thursday belong together, although I cannot be here on Thursday, I offer this statement by the German theologian Jürgen Moltmann in a book that I finished reading on the train today:
“A free society is not an accumulation of independent individuals; it is a community of persons in solidarity”.
I quote this because the same might equally be applied to nations. It bears repetition that the language and discourse of the referendum—shamelessly, in my view, fuelled by misrepresentations and misleading promises, now apparently acceptable in a so-called “post-factual” world—paid little or no attention to the needs or securities of our international neighbours. They focused purely on the national interests of Britain, as if we can live in isolation or that we can be secure without ensuring the security of our neighbours. I invoke the poet John Donne: in a globalised world, Britain cannot simply see itself as an island. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds speaks about the importance of peace and stability after the EU Referendum”
On the 21st July 2016 Baroness McIntosh of Pickering held a debate about “the impact on British farmers of the decision to leave the European Union.” Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans asked the Government to help to cultivate a culture of appreciation among the British public towards British farming. Lord Gardiner of Kimble responded for the Government and his comments can be found below.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I too thank the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, for this debate. I share the delight of other Members of this House that in the recent reshuffle it was neither an exit nor a Brexit but a clear remain vote for the Minister, and not only that but a promotion, so we are delighted and thank him.
Whatever our opinions on Brexit, it is undeniable that British farming faces a period of uncertainty and insecurity. While it is true that the decision to leave the EU will bring some new opportunities for British agriculture in the long term, it is clear that there are substantial challenges ahead. Agriculture is more intimately connected to the European Union than any other UK sector, and the process of unpicking that relationship must be done with utmost care. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans says uncertainty and insecurity faces British farming as a result of Brexit”
“We can create all the life chances we like, but that is futile if families cannot afford to put food on the table” – Bishop of St Albans, 7/7/16
On 7th July 2016 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord De Mauley, “That this House takes note of the current and future roles agriculture and horticulture play in Britain’s rural economy and the role that advances in agricultural science can play in the further development of that sector.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I add my thanks to those from other noble Lords to the noble Lord, Lord De Mauley, for securing this important debate at this time of significant uncertainty for the agricultural and horticultural sectors. I also declare my interest in the register as president of the Rural Coalition.
As noble Lords have already stated, the agricultural and horticultural industry is an essential feature not only of the rural economy but of the wider national economy. It is often said in this Chamber that the defence of the people is the first duty of government, but I wonder whether feeding the people should be an equally primary duty. Establishing food security is an essential role of all Governments, never more so than in the current climate of global uncertainty. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans highlights challenges to the rural economy outside the EU”
On 7th July 2016 Baroness Sharp of Guildford asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the outcome of the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union on the short-term and long-term participation of UK universities in Horizon 2020 research collaborations and the Erasmus Programme”. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, I declare an interest as a visitor to a number of colleges in Cambridge. In my conversations with the vice-chancellors of both Cambridge University and Anglia Ruskin University, which is in Cambridge, not only were they very concerned that there was a risk of losing £500 million of research funding for Cambridge and for the Russell group universities but—rather than the money—they were much more concerned about soft diplomacy and the free movement of scholars, which may be affected in the future. Continue reading “Bishop of Ely asks Government about future of university research after UK withdrawal from EU”
On 5th July 2016 the House of Lords debated a motion to take note of the result of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, spoke in the debate, focusing on leadership, common values, education and the rural workforce.
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, I cannot match that passion, but I join other noble Lords in saying how much I appreciated the speech earlier of our boss—I mean of my friend, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury. He and I have both worked in the north-east and been welcomed by the people of that area, many of whom voted to leave, just as people in fenland in my current diocese and people in east Kent, beloved of the most reverend Primate, did. These people were not, it seems to me, voting against the European Union but were making a great cry—a lament—about not having been heard for several generations by us, the political class. This was their opportunity to make us listen, after feeling excluded for so long. Continue reading “Bishop of Ely on the challenges for the UK following the EU referendum”