On 15th May 2018, Lord Ahmad repeated the answer to an urgent question asked in the House of Commons on violence at the Gaza border and its impact on the Middle East peace process. The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, responded:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I am grateful to Her Majesty’s Government for the careful yet very specific response they have given to the appalling loss of life at the border between Gaza and the state of Israel yesterday. The thoughts and prayers of this Bench are with all those affected. It is good to know that the Minister supports an independent review of what happened. At the same time, will the Minister agree that, while the United Kingdom recognises the integrity of the border—and, indeed, of all Israel’s pre-1967 borders—and the security of Israel’s prosperous and pluriform society, the defence of its interests must offer tangible hope to those with whom it hopes to engage in dialogue? The phrase, “a glimmer of hope” was mentioned a moment ago. I was in Gaza about four years ago. The situation then was desperate and deteriorating. It is infinitely worse now. What real, substantial hope can be given to those who live in what is effectively a vast open prison? Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester asks Government about ‘real, substantial hope’ for Gaza”
On 8th May 2018, the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill at report stage. The Bishop of Leeds spoke to propose an amendment about the future relationship of the UK with EU agencies and law after exit day. The amendment was passed, with 298 peers content, and 227 not content.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I move this amendment for two principal reasons: first, in order to assist the Government in their shaping of their case for the UK’s future relationship with the European Union post Brexit; secondly, because it is consistent with Amendment 49, which was passed earlier on Report. Continue reading “EU Withdrawal Bill: Bishop of Leeds moves an amendment on future interaction with the law and agencies of the EU”
On 19th April 2018 the House of Lords debated a Government motion “that this House takes note of the national security situation.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, took part in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the Minister for bringing this debate forward at this pivotal time in our national security and foreign policy. It is a great honour to follow the noble Lord, Lord Owen, and other distinguished speakers with their panoramic perspectives. Given the timing of the debate, I shall offer some reflections on the Syrian situation, both the danger it represents for national security and the role it might play in recasting relations with Russia, even in the stressful times described so clearly by the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Stirrup. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry urges more effort on diplomatic solution to conflict in Syria”
On 18th April 2018 Lord Suri asked Her Majesty’s Government “what director level staffing changes, if any, they intend to make in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to provide greater capacity for that department to co-ordinate, oversee and deliver policy to advance freedom of religion and belief.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, following on from that question, the Minister will be aware of the gathering at Lambeth Palace at the moment convened by my most reverend friend the Archbishop of Canterbury, which is bringing together parliamentarians and religious leaders from across the Commonwealth to help them work on good local practice. Would not the sort of director-level appointment mentioned in the Question to increase capacity help Her Majesty’s Government to partner with such initiatives to take them on to the next stage and provide co-ordination across the Commonwealth? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about plans for promoting freedom of religion and belief”
On 26th March, the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received answers to two questions on freedom of religion and belief in Sri Lanka:
The Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to safeguard religious pluralism and to defend and promote freedom of religion or belief in Sri Lanka. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about religious freedom in Sri Lanka”
On 22nd March 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from the Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, “That this House takes note of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018.” The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, the Anglican Communion extends significantly beyond the nations of the Commonwealth. Nevertheless, for obvious reasons of history, there is a very substantial Anglican presence in many Commonwealth countries. I am therefore pleased to speak from these Benches in this debate—and I, too, look forward to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Geidt.
Within the Anglican Communion we have a rich network of companion links between dioceses in different parts of the world, whereby most Lords spiritual will have an active engagement with the life of at least one Commonwealth country. The nature of the Commonwealth as a network of autonomous free nations also has some parallel with the life of the communion, wherein each province is autonomous yet links together through what one might call family likeness, and the position of honour granted to the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester on importance of Commonwealth in building partnerships”
On 20th March 2018 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the changing situation in Syria.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, will the Minister give an assurance that in the provision of humanitarian aid to those displaced in this conflict the Department for International Development’s understanding of vulnerability includes religious persecution? Will he also give an assurance that the Government will continue to ensure that the UNHCR’s procedures and criteria for determining refugee status recognise religious persecution as a distinct category? Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester asks about religious persecution as category for refugee status”