On 9th October 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a question from Mark Hendrick MP about the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation in Europe.
Mr Mark Hendrick(Preston): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what events and activities the Diocese of Blackburn is undertaking to mark the Quincentenary of the nailing of Ninety-five Theses by Martin Luther on the door of All Saints’ Church, Wittenberg, on 31 October 1517.
Dame Caroline Spelman: Church of England dioceses are marking the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation in Europe and parishes are being encourage to commemorate the anniversary in a variety of ways. For example in my own parish of Knowle, a sermon series will be held.
“Voting matters, but doing the job matters even more. The belief that only elected Members can have any sort of legitimacy, or that once someone has won a vote it gives them carte blanche to do whatever they like for the next five years, rings extremely hollow when it is precisely some of the elected Members in another place who have brought the system into disrepute. Our whole political system has encouraged career politicians who have never run a farm or a shop or a school or a ship, and who lurch from utopianism, which gets most of them into politics in the first place, to pragmatic power-seeking, which is what they turn to when Utopia fails to arrive on schedule.” – Bishop of Durham, 11/6/09 Continue reading “Archive speeches: Bishop Tom Wright – ‘The constitution is far more important than party politics.’”
In 1936 the House of Lords debated the Voluntary Euthanasia Legalisation Bill, the first of its kind to come before the UK Parliament. Its rejection set the pattern for future Bills in both Houses for the eight decades to come.
The Voluntary Euthanasia Legalisation Bill 1936 sought to allow mentally competent adults with an incurable condition, accompanied by severe pain, to have assistance in ending their lives. It was proposed by Arthur Ponsonby, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, a former leader of the Labour Party in the Lords and minister under Ramsay MacDonald. He did so in place of the late Lord Moynihan, who a year before had helped found the British Voluntary Euthanasia Society.The Bill was opposed on pragmatic as well as moral grounds by a majority of Peers and rejected at the end of Second Reading in a Division of the House. Among those speaking against were the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Lang and the Bishop of Norwich, Bertram Pollock.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, died on 30th March 2002. On 3rd April 2002 the House of Lords met to offer tributes. The Lord Privy Seal rose to move, ‘That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty’, which began as follows:
“Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, beg leave to express our heartfelt sympathy in the great sorrow which Your Majesty has suffered by the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother; and to offer to Your Majesty our most sincere condolences.
After the General Election of May 1997, once the Queen had delivered her Speech to the new Parliament and departed it fell to Lord Richard, as Labour’s freshly appointed Leader of the House of Lords, to move the first item of business.
He announced to the assembled Lords Spiritual and Temporal:
“My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill for better regulating Select Vestries be now read a first time. I am not sure why I am doing this, but I am.”
When Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury, revealed in 1983 that he had voted in the recent general election (though not who for), he was unlikely to have imagined that it would give rise to newspaper headlines and questions in parliament. He had not broken the law, though the subsequent debate shone a light on an otherwise little-known feature of the House of Lords. Continue reading “Can Lords Spiritual vote in general elections?”