On 24th June the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark received a written answer to two questions to Government on the handling of cases of Commonwealth citizens who have resided a long time in the UK but without documentation .
Lord Bishop of Southwark:
(i) HL5624 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) gaps in national insurance records where the fault does not lie with the individual, and (2) whether Home Office caseworkers should be able to use discretion when dealing with Commonwealth Citizens, including those with right of abode, who have resided for a long time in the UK, but who do not have correct documentation.
(ii) HL5623 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice and training they have given to Home Office caseworkers about (1) the right of abode in the UK, and (2) the level of discretion that caseworkers can use when dealing with Commonwealth Citizens who have resided for a long time in the UK, but who do not have correct documentation.
Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about handling of Commonwealth citizens long term in the UK without documentation”
On 11th March 2015 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty’s Government what representations they had received in the past year from organisations dealing with the welfare of immigrants over current immigration regulations. The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, does the Government accept that, because the number of migrants who come here perfectly legally from the EU is much higher than expected, the downward pressure from the authorities on non-EU immigrants is onerous, aggressive and leads to the sort of report we have just heard? There is now such a disparity of treatment between EU and non-EU immigrants that it is producing all manner of injustice.
Lord Bates: We have to look at the reason why we have seen pressure on immigration; we have to take it seriously. The right reverend Prelate will recognise that uncontrolled immigration, which we have had in the past, puts intolerable strains on our public services. In this country we rightly have a proud tradition of offering asylum to those who are in fear of persecution and that will continue under the present regime.
On 11th February 2015, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received an answer to a written question on the Government’s collection of data on forced marriage.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to gather data on the number of girls under the legal age of marriage who had married abroad and have been brought back to the United Kingdom, as part of the work of the Forced Marriage Unit.
Baroness Anelay of St John’s – Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) provides a range of support and assistance in cases where British nationals are at risk of forced marriage abroad. In 2013, the FMU gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1302 cases. Where the age was known, 15% of cases involved victims below 16 years and 25% involved victims aged 16-17. Where a victim is repatriated back to the UK, this is individually recorded on case notes.
On 2nd February 2015, the Bishop of St Albans received an answer to a written question on legislation relating to the criminalisation of the purchase of sex.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 17 December 2014 (HL3283), whether they will now state what consideration they have given to introducing or amending legislation to criminalise the purchase of sex in order to protect vulnerable women.
Lord Bates: With regard to prostitution, the Government focus is on harm minimisation and I refer to my answer of 17 December 2014 to question HL3283 on this matter.
On 21st January 2015, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received answers to written questions on the subject of milk production sustainability and data collection on child marriage.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure the long term sustainability of milk production in the United Kingdom. [HL3994] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans- Child Marriage and Food Security (Written Answer)”
On 15th January 2015, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received answers to written questions on the subjects of religious freedom in Egypt, prostitution and the Somerset Rivers Authority.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Egypt on behalf of Mohammed Hegazy. [HL3910]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns): We are concerned about the case of Mr Mohammed Hegazy, who converted to Christianity in 1998. We raised Mr Hegazy’s case at official level with the Egyptian Embassy in London on 7 January. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans – Written Answers (Egypt, prostitution and the Somerset Rivers Authority)”
On 12th January 2015, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received an answer to a written question from the Home Office Minister, on the subject of forced marriage.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they collect data on the number of British girls sent abroad to marry each year; and if they do not collect such data, what they are doing to assess the scale of such activity.[HL3493]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates): The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) was established in 2005 to lead on the government’s forced marriage policy, outreach and casework. The FMU operates both inside the UK, where support is provided to any individual, and overseas, where consular assistance is provided to British nationals, including dual nationals. In 2013, the FMU gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1302 cases. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans – Forced Marriage (Written Answer)”
On 16th December 2014, Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to reintroduce a dog licensing fee. The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I am one of those who wear a dog collar in this House—and for the privilege of doing so I have to be licensed. But as far as I am aware, no fees have been paid. Might I suggest that enough is enough?
Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate (Non-Afl): My Lords, the right reverend Prelate has stolen my thunder, in a sense. I was going to ask: because of the increasing number of dangerous dog incidents, would it not be worth having a look at licensing the owners? Continue reading “Bishop of Chester speaks during question time on dog licensing”
On 16th December 2014, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received an answer to a written question on under-age marriages.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to protect girls who come to the United Kingdom already in under-age marriages. [HL3558]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): Local authorities, with the help of other organisations as appropriate, have a duty to make enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm. A belief that a girl may have been involved in an under-age marriage should lead to such an assessment.
Where a local authority encounters concerns about a child’s welfare that constitute, or may constitute, an offence against a child, social workers should discuss the case with the police at the earliest opportunity. Offences may have been committed by the girl’s parents, or by her ‘husband’. Legislation that came into force earlier in 2014 means that forced marriage is now a criminal offence. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans – Underage Marriage (Written Answer)”
On 19th November 2014, Lord Lea of Crondall asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any proposal to other European Union member states, either severally or collectively, which would limit (1) the right of United Kingdom citizens to live and work in other European Union member states, or (2) the parallel right of citizens of other European Union member states to live and work in the United Kingdom. The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, the Minister mentioned the reputation that this country has for hospitality. Is he aware of an associated issue: the difficulty that members of the Commonwealth face in obtaining a visa even to visit, let alone to work and live in this country, which seriously hampers a lot of very important overseas links with dioceses, including my own—so much so that my friends in Tanzania were unable to be present at my wife’s funeral earlier this year? Is that sort of impediment government policy and, if not, can he assure us that it will be addressed?
Lord Bates: We very much encourage people to come to this country, whether to study or to work. We want to encourage the best and the brightest to come to this country, as well as tourists; there are many people we want to encourage—but there is a difference between that and people who significantly abuse the system in coming here because of benefits.