On the 24th May 2019 Theresa May announced that she would be standing down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Birmingham, who is Convenor of the Lords Spiritual, issued the following statements in response: Continue reading “Prime Minister resignation statement – Archbishop and Lords Spiritual Convenor respond”
“Service, in the Christian tradition, is a vocation. When Jesus washed the feet of his disciples he reversed the power relationship between the teacher and his followers. Two thousand years ago, service never made you great; it was a sign of your enslavement. These days, by contrast, everyone wants to do us a service” – Bishop of Norwich, 27/11/14
On 27th November 2014 the House of Lords debated a motion from the Crossbench Peer and former Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, on ‘the role of religion and belief in British public life’. The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham James, spoke in the debate, focusing on themes of trust and a vocation to service in public life.
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, like other noble Lords I am very grateful to the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Harries, for securing this debate. I notice that the commission of which he is part is considering how religion may contribute to,
“greater levels of mutual trust and collective action, and to a more harmonious society”.
I will address the reference to mutual trust, especially with regard to our public life, which is far from well. The level of cynicism about our political structures and politicians finds reflection in an all too common assumption that many people in public life are not to be trusted. That is true for religious leaders, too, and for almost anyone in the public eye, and it generates cynicism about the state itself. Continue reading “Service and trust: Bishop of Norwich speaks in Lords debate on religion and belief in public life”
On 28th July 2014, former speaker of the House of Commons, and Crossbench Peer the Rt Hon. the Baroness Boothroyd, moved a Motion to Regret in the House of Lords. The Motion stated:
That this House welcomes the appointment of Baroness Stowell of Beeston as Leader of the House of Lords, but regrets the decision of the Prime Minister to diminish the standing of the House by failing to make her a full member of the Cabinet; and requests that the Prime Minister reconsiders this decision.
The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, took part in the debate on the motion. He spoke of the way in which power is distributed throughout the contemporary political system and how this distribution of power may need to be reconsidered if the public are to be re-engaged with the political process.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I want to associate these Benches fully with both sides of the Motion; first, the welcome to the noble Baroness in her role as Leader of the House and, secondly, the regrets that have been expressed already in our debate. Rather than focus on the details, I shall make a few comments about the wider symbolic significance of these events. A healthy society distributes power. The banking crisis arose partly because power got too concentrated in certain institutions and in a certain section of the financial community. Government, if it is about nothing else, is about the exercise of power. We have to accept and acknowledge that, and not try to deny it. The exercise of power calls for clear leadership, which is right, too. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester speaks during debate on constitutional role of Leader of the House of Lords”