Bishop of Coventry speaks in Lords debate on action against ISIL in Syria

On 2nd December 2015 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, spoke during the House of Lords debate on ISIL in Syria. The full text of his speech is below. The Archbishop of Canterbury also spoke in the debate.

Bp Coventry May 2015The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, coming from Coventry, a city bound in solidarity of suffering with bombed cities in Europe, I am kept in daily remembrance of the costs of military action, especially to civilians. Against such costs, the benefits must be clear and the chances of success especially high. We all agree that the evil of Daesh needs to be stopped, but will extending strikes from Iraq into Syria do it? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry speaks in Lords debate on action against ISIL in Syria”

Second Church Estates commissioner speaks in House of Commons Syria debate

On the 2nd December 2015 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon. Caroline Spelman MP, spoke in the House of Commons debate on action against ISIL in Syria. Mrs Spelman highlighted the need for a comprehensive strategy, which needed to included a theological, ideological response, not just military and humanitarian. The subsequent vote on the Government’s motion was passed by 397 to 223. Mrs Spelman voted with the Government. Her speech is reproduced below:

CarolineMrs Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con): There is an important religious dimension to this debate and faith leaders shape public opinion, so I thought it might be helpful if I shared with the House the views expressed by the Church of England on the subject.

At a meeting of the General Synod last week, a motion on the migrant crisis called unanimously upon the Government,

“to work with international partners in Europe and elsewhere to help establish safe and legal routes to places of safety, including this country, for refugees who are vulnerable and at severe risk.”

Continue reading “Second Church Estates commissioner speaks in House of Commons Syria debate”

Archbishop of Canterbury speaks in Lords debate on action against ISIL in Syria

On the 2nd December 2015 the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt Hon. Justin Welby, spoke during the House of Lords debate on ISIL in Syria. The Archbishop’s speech is reproduced in full below and can be watched here. The Bishop of Coventry also spoke in the debate.

AbpCanterbury021215The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I add to the welcomes given to the noble Lord, Lord Hague of Richmond, and note his perfect timing in bringing his immeasurable wisdom and experience to our debates. I look forward very much to his contribution.

To my mind, the “just war” criteria have been met. However, while they are necessary, they are not by themselves sufficient in action of this kind, where we can end up doing the right thing in such a wrong way that it becomes the wrong thing. To my mind, there are three components that currently need more emphasis and are to some extent missing. In this role, through visiting all 38 provinces of the Anglican communion, through the constant contacts that we have with Muslim and Christian leaders in the region, as recently as three weeks ago in a conference at Lambeth Palace, I am constantly reminded that this is a global issue to which we are applying local solutions. Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury speaks in Lords debate on action against ISIL in Syria”

Syria and military action – Archbishop of Canterbury responds to Prime Minister’s statement

On 26th November 2015 the Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Stowell, repeated in the Lords a statement given earlier in the day to the House of Commons by the Prime Minister about Syria and the possibility of military action. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, responded:

Archbishop of CanterburyThe Archbishop of Canterbury: I thank the Leader of the House for the repetition of the Statement, and particularly the publication of the Foreign Affairs Committee report, and welcome the seriousness of the emphasis in both the Statement and the report on a comprehensive approach—the seriousness of military action but also the integration of soft and hard power, support for jobs, education, family and community life and stability, and of communities flourishing in the neighbouring countries, which comes out very strongly. The test will obviously be the total mobilisation of effort in a focused way that recognises the long-term needs of security for indigenous populations, particularly the Christian populations, which are being harried out of the area. Continue reading “Syria and military action – Archbishop of Canterbury responds to Prime Minister’s statement”

Paris attacks – Bishop of Birmingham stresses need for community integration

On 17th November 2015 the Leader of the House of Lords repeated a statement by the Prime Minister on the Paris terrorist attacks of 13th November, and the G20 summit. The Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd David Urquhart, responded to the statement from the Bishops’ Benches.


Birmingham 171115The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for her repeating of the Statement and, from these Benches, join your Lordships in offering our sympathy for the tragic loss of life and the injuries that occurred in Paris—and, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, said, in other parts of the region, in recent weeks.

On the area of ideology, the third of area in the Statement, can the Minister go a bit further? While we make every effort, as we must, to deal with this issue by military power and by counter-extremism measures, the area of ideas is a matter which I ask the Minister to consider very seriously in terms of quite small but important resources, as we try to develop the right relationships in the community that the Prime Minister so wants—not just asking Muslims to argue for a good Islam, but also to join people of faith, or no faith, of all parts in developing right thinking, friendship and deep relationships, which will allow us to move on from this ghastly use of violence into a more integrated society. Will she also encourage us to make a successful integration of the new wave of Syrian refugees fleeing from death in their own country? Continue reading “Paris attacks – Bishop of Birmingham stresses need for community integration”

Bishop of Derby urges focus on humanitarian values in the fight against ISIL

On 16th September 2015 the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke during a debate on the humanitarian impact of developments in the Middle East and North Africa. The Bishop welcomed much of the Government’s strategy and spoke of the need to renew our Christian-based values of the right of every person to be treated generously when in need, and as a unique and precious individual.

Bishop of DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I shall make a couple of comments and invite the House to think a little about the humanitarian basis of this debate.

As the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, has just said, and the Minister said in her introduction, the scale is unprecedented in our times. The challenge, therefore, to be nimble is very great. I applaud the Government for the amount of investment that has been made in refugees and migrants. I also applaud the Government’s scheme to target the most vulnerable, including victims of sexual violence and torture, the elderly and the disabled. However, I agree with Lord Ashdown that because of the unprecedented scale we need to be generous in our approach and spirit. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby urges focus on humanitarian values in the fight against ISIL”

Tunisia terror attacks – Bishop of St Albans calls for community relations to be strengthened at home

On 29th June 2015 the House of Lords heard the Leader of the House repeat a statement by the Prime Minister on the terrorist attacks in Tunisia. In questions to the Leader after the statement, the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, focused on the need to strengthen community relations in the UK. 

Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, we, too, on these Benches send our sympathies to those who have been bereaved and those who are injured. It is deeply concerning that Tunisia, a relatively peaceful haven in a part of the world in which there are many tensions, has now had this attack. Does the Minister agree that it calls for a renewed emphasis on working to strengthen community relations here in this country? The danger is that the events from Tunisia, Kuwait, Kobani and France could inflame ethnic and other violence and inspire copycat attacks here in this country. Continue reading “Tunisia terror attacks – Bishop of St Albans calls for community relations to be strengthened at home”

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about Christians in Iraq and freedom of religion or belief

13.10 Bishop of CoventryThe Lord Bishop of Coventry To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the long-term future of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq; and what steps they are taking to assist Iraq’s religious minorities. [HL551] Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about Christians in Iraq and freedom of religion or belief”

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about post-conflict and reconciliation work in Iraq

On 24th June 2015 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received two written answers on political reconciliation and post-conflict work in Iraq.


Bp Coventry May 2015
The Lord Bishop of Coventry To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their most recent assessment of the steps taken by the government of Iraq to encourage political reconciliation and the move towards an inclusive framework of government in Iraq. [HL548] Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about post-conflict and reconciliation work in Iraq”

Bishop of Winchester asks Government about support for religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria

On 19th March 2015  Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is the strategy of the United States-led coalition for clearing the Daesh out of the territories which they currently occupy in Syria and Iraq.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Rev Tim Dakin, asked a supplementary quesion:

Bishop of WinchesterThe Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, even if the current operations to clear Daesh prove successful, the ancient religious and ethnic minority communities in Iraq have an uncertain future. Does the Minister agree with the statement recently submitted by the Holy See to the United Nations Human Rights Council? It said that a future without these communities in Iraq and the Middle East risks,

“new forms of violence, exclusion, and the absence of peace and development”.

Therefore, what steps are being taken to secure the future of those communities, and in particular, their human right to religious freedom? Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester asks Government about support for religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria”

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