Grace and compassion needed in Brexit disagreements says Bishop of Birmingham

On 12th September 2017 the House of Lords debated a Government motion on Brexit, “That this House takes note of the position papers and future partnership papers published by Her Majesty’s Government on the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union.” The Bishop of Birmingham spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I am grateful for the debate and for the papers. It may help noble Lords to rest their ears for a moment if I say that my concluding remarks will be very similar to those of the noble Lord who has just spoken. It may also help your Lordships to know that—in confession terms, if I take the lead—I have not read all the papers in detail. None the less, I would have liked those sorts of details much earlier, I would have liked them to be debated and scrutinised, and I would have liked them to achieve a little more consensus as we get into the timetable of these negotiations.

Before and after the referendum, we were treated to the lazy slogans “Brexit means Brexit” and “No deal is better than a bad deal”. I am hopeful and expectant that those moments are over and that now, with these papers and other details, we are getting down to some serious work. Continue reading “Grace and compassion needed in Brexit disagreements says Bishop of Birmingham”

Queen’s Speech 2017: Archbishop of York calls for a Brexit that serves the common good

Archbishop of YorkOn 28th June, the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu contributed to the ongoing debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Archbishop’s speech addressed Brexit and he called for cross-party work to secure a Brexit that serves the common good.

The Archbishop of York My Lords, I have followed with interest the debates on the Queen’s Speech over the past week. I have been encouraged to hear assurances from the Leader of your Lordships’ House and various Ministers of the Government who seek to govern with humility and to forge cross-party agreement where they can. That is as it should be, regardless of the numerical strength or weakness of the Government.

Many issues raised in the Queen’s Speech and the Government’s agenda give us the best opportunity to have that wider consensus. No area is more important than that when it comes to negotiating Britain’s departure from the European Union and to forging a new relationship—a deep and special partnership—with the EU. Indeed, the reality is that there is no way in which a minority Government can hope to get all their legislation relating to Britain leaving the EU through Parliament without the help of others. The Government need to make a virtue out of that necessity.

Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Archbishop of York calls for a Brexit that serves the common good”

Bishop of Leeds asks Government about farming and rural policy post-Brexit

On Thursday 23rd March 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Teverson “That this House takes note of the Report from the European Union Committee Brexit: environment and climate change (12th Report, HL Paper 109).” The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, a number of questions have already been posed, and I pity the Minister for having to go through them in some detail. We heard earlier that we in this Chamber tend to be gloomy, and now we should be cheerful. I am neither; I am just puzzled—which is not a new experience.

From reading the report, which is a model of clarity, as are most of the Brexit reports that come from the various committees, it seems that, as we peel back the layers of the onion, we end up with more layers. I realise that that sounds paradoxical, but it seems to get more and more complex. The other night in the debate on Brexit and Gibraltar I tried to ask some questions about stress testing, to which I got no answer. So I shall try again, focusing very briefly on just one or two questions. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks Government about farming and rural policy post-Brexit”

Bishop of Durham asks about Home Office officials’ roles in France, Greece and Italy

On 14th March 2017 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a written answer to a question to Government about Home Office officials in France, Greece and Italy.

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what Home Office officials are based in (1) France, (2) Greece, and (3) Italy; and what is the operational role of each official. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about Home Office officials’ roles in France, Greece and Italy”

Votes: EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – that the Bill should not proceed

On 7th March 2017 the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at Third Reading. A vote was called on a Liberal Democrat motion that the Bill should not pass.Six Lords Spiritual took part in the vote. 
Continue reading “Votes: EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – that the Bill should not proceed”

EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill: Archbishop of York speaks on amendment about Northern Ireland impact

york-170117-bOn Tuesday 7th March 2017, the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at Report stage and Third Reading. Labour Peer Lord Hain moved Amendment 5, seeking to ensure the Prime Minister give an undertaking to support the right of Northern Irish people to claim Irish citizenship as per the Belfast Agreement in negotiations following the triggering of Article 50. The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu welcomed the probing amendment for raising awareness of the issue.

The Archbishop of York My Lords, it is a real delight to follow the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames. When he was Archbishop of Armagh he invited me endless times to visit Northern Ireland, even during the terrible Troubles. As a result we ended up spending a lot of holidays in that particular part of Ireland. It is a very beautiful, wonderful place. The noble Lords, Lord Hain and Lord Reid, spoke with insight. I would like to follow in their footsteps on this wonderful probing amendment that the noble Lord, Lord Hain, says he is not going to put to a vote. Continue reading “EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill: Archbishop of York speaks on amendment about Northern Ireland impact”

Votes: EU (notification of Withdrawal) Bill – parliamentary approval of Brexit deal

On 7th March 2017 the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at Report. A vote was called on a cross-party amendment to give parliament an approval vote on a negotiated Brexit deal. Ten bishops took part.  Continue reading “Votes: EU (notification of Withdrawal) Bill – parliamentary approval of Brexit deal”