On the 7th March 2016, Baroness Williams of Trafford led a debate in the House of Lords, “that this House takes note of the progress made in the United Kingdom in the areas of women’s representation and empowerment 150 years after the 1866 petition to the House of Commons for women’s suffrage.” During the debate, the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, gave her maiden speech, becoming the first female bishop in history to speak in the House of Lords.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords,
“This is a maiden speech, my Lords, and I would crave your indulgence”.
So began the maiden speech in November 1958 of Baroness Elliot of Harwood, the first female Peer to speak in this House. She went on to say,
“except for Her Majesty’s gracious Opening of Parliament, probably this is the first occasion in 900 years that the voice of a woman has been heard in the deliberations of this House”.—[Official Report, 4/11/1958; col. 161.]
On Monday 26th October 2015 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, was introduced to the House of Lords by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London.
The first female bishop to take her seat in the Lords under the terms of the 2015 Lords Spiritual (Women) Act, her introduction was met with applause by those present. Pictures of the introduction are below and a video of the short ceremony can be viewed here.
In the House of Lords on 20th March 2014 Lord Beecham asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what assessment they have made of the number and role of food banks in the United Kingdom.’
The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Rev Michael Perham, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, research by Citizens Advice shows that the main reason people are referred to food banks is delay in the payment of benefits and benefit sanctions; anecdotally, this is also the church’s own experience from its involvement in the many food banks it helps to run across the country. Will the Minister tell us whether the Government are persuaded by this evidence and, if they are not, will he share with us what plans they have to carry out their own research into the reasons leading so many people to seek food aid?
Lord De Mauley: My Lords, I very much acknowledge the right reverend Prelate’s question. While it is right to expect that claimants who are able to look for or prepare for work should do so, a sanction will never be imposed if a claimant has good reason for failing to meet requirements. If claimants demonstrate that they cannot buy essential items, including food, as a result of their sanction, they can claim a hardship payment. No claimant should ever have to go without essentials as a result of a sanction.