On Wednesday 15th June 2016 the House of Lords debated the Report from the European Union Committee The EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (4th Report, Session 2015–16, HL Paper 46). The Bishop of Sheffield, Rt Revd Steven Croft, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Sheffield: My Lords, I welcome the two reports before us in all their complexity and I thank the members of the European Union Committee for their expertise, which is already evident in this debate. I particularly welcome the committee’s recommendation in paragraph 8 that the mandate of Operation Sophia is reviewed and renewed, along with the EU’s subsequent decisions. Clearly, this operation alone cannot be the complete answer to the challenges that we face. However, the European Union must not return to the position that it held before the Lampedusa tragedy of apparent indifference to those who seek to cross the Mediterranean in danger of their lives. Nor can we neglect the spread of people-smuggling on and across our borders. Continue reading “Bishop of Sheffield speaks on Church response to the migrant crisis”
On the 4th, 9th & 14th March 2016 the Bishop of Leeds received written answers to questions about the implications for UK citizens overseas if the UK should decide to leave the EU.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the implications of a decision by the UK to leave the EU for those UK nationals resident in other EU member states. [HL6398]
Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks about effect of UK leaving the EU on UK nationals living abroad”
On 15th January 2016 the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered a written question from Tim Loughton MP on contingency plans in the event of a vote to leave the EU:
Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what contingency arrangements the Church Commissioners have made for the eventuality of a majority leave vote in the upcoming EU referendum.
Mrs Caroline Spelman: The Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board manage their investment portfolios using high quality well diversified and long term strategies. The Church Commissioners and Pensions Board believe that they are well positioned for any market re-pricing or uncertainty that may prevail prior to or after the referendum.
“There must be more to this referendum than a calculation of the temporary individual economic benefit or disbenefit of membership of the Union in its present form” – Bishop of London 13/10/15
On 13th October 2015 the House of Lords debated the EU Referendum Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of London, Rt Rev Richard Chartres, spoke in the debate.
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, in a matter as grave as the future relations between Britain and the European Union, there is perhaps a case for a referendum, which one hopes would settle the direction of travel for a generation. The referendum habit has elsewhere proved contagious. They tend to be run again if those in power do not get the answer they want. There must be a very strong case to justify an exception from our settled preference for a representative democracy that permits the kinds of compromises that the art of government requires. Continue reading “EU Referendum Bill – speech by the Bishop of London”
On 16th September 2015 Lord Green of Deddington asked the Government ‘what assessment they have made of the scope for those currently claiming asylum in other European Union member states subsequently to move on to the United Kingdom’. The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, does the Minister think that the current European regulations are working, and indeed workable, in the face of the sheer volume of people who are seeking to migrate?
Continue reading “Bishop of Chester asks if European migration rules are working”
On the 6th July 2015 the Bishop of Chester responded to a Government Statement on Greece. The Bishop asked if the Government should be using its role outside of the eurozone strategically and what contact had been made between the UK and Greece recently to discuss the political situation.
Continue reading “Greece crisis – Bishop of Chester responds to Government statement”
“Give a voice to the experience of those who otherwise are silenced. This is why the Lords spiritual are here, rooted in communities across the whole of our country, networked internationally, informed, often inconveniently and compelled to tell the truth as they see it. I hope to fulfil this vocation with the humility and confidence that it surely demands”. – Bishop of Leeds, 1/6/15
On 1st June 2015 the Bishop of Leeds spoke for the first time in the House of Lords. In his address, which came during the debate on the Queen’s Speech, he spoke of his background in the Church of England, his diocese, constitutional change, Europe and how economic and devolution proposals might impact on places such as Bradford. The full text is below and can also be watched online here.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds (Maiden Speech): My Lords, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in this debate, especially given the kindness I have already met in this House since being introduced in February. I wish to express my gratitude to all sides of the House for the welcome I have received and particularly to the staff, who have assisted and advised me, sometimes on the same issue more than once. This coming Saturday I will be speaking in Stuttgart before thousands of people along with Kofi Annan and the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. At least today I can address this House in English. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds makes first speech in the House of Lords – constitution, devolution, economy”
“A no vote on the EU would hasten the demise of the Union and lead within a generation to a rump nation shorn of Scotland and of membership of the EU and without strategic influence internationally.”- Bishop of Leicester, 1/6/15
On 1st June 2015 the Bishop of Leicester, Rt Rev Tim Stevens, spoke in the debate on the Queen’s Speech, on constitutional, human rights, local government, devolution and welfare reform issues. The full text of his speech is below and it can also be watched online here.
The Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, has reminded us, the Prime Minister has offered us what he calls,
“a clear programme for working people, social justice, and bringing our country together—put simply, a One Nation Queen’s Speech from a One Nation Government”.
It is therefore clearly our responsibility to evaluate the Government’s programme against that yardstick, and to measure the gracious Speech on its potential for national unity and social justice, at every point. Continue reading “Bishop of Leicester speaks on constitutional reform, devolution, human rights and welfare in debate on Queen’s Speech”
“We need a more adequate humanitarian response to the human suffering resulting from the conflict, and to support and strengthen the efforts of the churches and faith communities of Ukraine for justice and peace.” – Bishop of St Albans, 24/3/15
On 24th March 2015 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, took part in a debate tabled by Lord Tugendhat “that this House takes note of the Report of the European Union Committee on The EU and Russia: before and beyond the crisis in Ukraine (6th Report, HL Paper 115)”.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I add my congratulations on the maiden speech of the noble Earl, Lord Oxford and Asquith, and I thank the noble Lord, Lord Tugendhat, for securing this debate, which provides a valuable space in which to explore the multifaceted and fast-changing situation in the region. The EU Committee’s report has opened a welcome opportunity to reassess the UK’s relationship with both Russia and Ukraine on a bilateral level and as part of the EU. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans highlights role of churches in building peace and stability in Ukraine”
In the House of Lords on 25th November 2014, Labour Peer Lord Liddle led a take-note debate on the case for the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union. The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, took part in the debate. In his remarks, he noted that a shift in focus from economic costs and benefits to the European Union’s role as an institution of peace and reconciliation is necessary for meaningful debate to take place on the UK’s place in the EU. He noted that reform was necessary, not least to rebalance the democratic deficit between national and supra-national governance. He noted that churches may be well placed to create safe and neutral spaces in which informed and serious debate on the UK’s place in Europe can take place.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Liddle, for securing this debate, although I enter it with some trepidation in such company. I am constrained to do so by the story of Coventry, from where I come, and by the originating Christian contribution to the possibilities that some form of common life might have for Europe and, thereby, for the world. When in your daily life you see the scars of warfare upon a city, when you hear the testimony of those who lost homes and families on one night in November 1940, when each year you are joined by Germans in the commemoration of your city’s 500 dead, and when you join them as they remember their city’s thousands of dead, you know that peace counts and that reconciliation is indeed a precious gift, and you give thanks for the project which has had peace as its fundamental purpose. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry takes part in debate on the UK’s membership of the European Union”