EU Withdrawal Bill: Bishop of Leeds urges Peers to ‘model good ways of disagreeing’

On Tuesday 30th January 2018, the Lords considered the Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill at Second Reading. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate, focusing on the purpose and tone of Brexit discussions. 

Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, many speakers will attend to the technical and legal details of the Bill and they will be better equipped to do so than I am. I therefore want to use my time to pay attention to a question that lies behind the nature of the Bill and the choices that we are required to make in scrutinising and attempting to improve it. This question applies to all sides of the argument, whether we think that leaving the European Union is an unmitigated disaster or the best thing since Winston Churchill mobilised the English language and sent it into battle. Continue reading “EU Withdrawal Bill: Bishop of Leeds urges Peers to ‘model good ways of disagreeing’”

Bishop of Leeds asks Government about timing of talks on air travel post-Brexit

On 20th November 2017 Baroness Doocey asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact that the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union Open Skies Agreement would have on the United Kingdom’s tourism industry.” The Minister was unable to give a clear commitment to deal with aviation separately and in advance of the main negotiations with the EU on Brexit, so the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, if it is not possible to give that commitment now, is it possible to give an idea of a timeline as to when that commitment can be made, when the aim might become a reality? Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks Government about timing of talks on air travel post-Brexit”

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”