Bishop of Leeds asks Government about suspension of debt payments from the world’s poorest countries

Bishop Nick BainesOn 13th May, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, received a written answer from Lord Agnew of Oulton on the debt of developing countries.

Bishop of Leeds: HL3475 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure private creditors comply with the agreement reached by G20 leaders on 15 April to suspend debt payments owed by 77 of the world’s poorest countries, in particular those debts that fall under UK jurisdiction.

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Bishop of Leeds asks Government to support halt on debt repayments for low-income developing countries during Covid-19 pandemic

On 12th May, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, received a written answer from Baroness Sugg on debt incurred because of COVID-19.

Bishop Nick Baines

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: HL3474 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the letter published in the Financial Times on 14 April, and signed by 18 African and European leaders, which called for an immediate moratorium on all bilateral and multilateral debt payments, both public and private, until the COVID-19 pandemic has passed; and what plans they have, if any, to support that request.

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Bishop of Leeds asks Government about suspending debt of developing countries during pandemic

Bishop Nick BainesOn 12th May, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, received a written answer from Baroness Sugg on the debt of developing countries.

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: HL3476 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with other G20 leaders to extend the agreement reached on 15 April, to suspend debt payments owed by 77 of the world’s poorest countries, to include the (1) the World Bank, and (2) the African Development Bank.

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Bishop of Leeds pays tribute to churches, faith groups and charities providing floating shelters

On 27th February 2020 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a Government statement on the latest rough sleeping annual statistics for 2019, and the approach of the Government. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I am grateful for that Statement and look forward to the review by Dame Louise Casey. Does the Minister agree that many elements of civil society, particularly churches, faith communities and charities, while waiting for this, are out on the streets almost every night? I refer to what we call floating shelters in many parts of the country through the winter months—which can be five months—which skew the figures a bit, because they take people off the streets. There are some excellent examples in my neck of the woods, where the churches host rough sleepers overnight and the mosques provide the curry. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds pays tribute to churches, faith groups and charities providing floating shelters”

Bishop of Leeds asks Government for strategy to resurrect Victorian mill buildings

In the House of Lords on 11th February 2020, Baroness Pinnock asked the Government “what plans they have to bring back into use empty Victorian mills in the Pennine area of the North of England.” The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow up question:

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Bishop of Leeds asks Government about security of Christians, freedom of religion and belief

On 4th, 5th and 6th February 202o the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received written answers, to questions on freedom of religion and belief.

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: HL750 Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to negotiate a United Nations Security Council Resolution calling on all governments in the Middle East and North Africa region to (1) ensure the protection and security of Christians, and other faith minorities, (2) facilitate the establishment of security and protection arrangements for Christians, and other faith minorities, within the legal and governance structures, and (3) permit UN observers to monitor the protection and security arrangements for Christians and other faith minorities, in each of those countries.

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – Bishop of Leeds supports amendment on parliamentary oversight of future negotiations

On 15th January 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill at its second day in Committee. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in support of an amendment* to provide an ongoing role for both Houses of Parliament during the future relationship negotiations.

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I think that the context has changed. When the Benn amendment went through, it was suspected of having the intention to thwart or delay Brexit. We are not in that position now: Brexit is going to go ahead. Surely, then, it is the job of the whole of Parliament to defend and promote its own interests and those of the Government in the negotiations going forward. So, in a perverse way, this amendment strengthens the hand of the Government by bringing in Parliament to back it and provide support as they embark on their negotiations; it does not diminish it. Continue reading “European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – Bishop of Leeds supports amendment on parliamentary oversight of future negotiations”

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill: Bishop of Leeds cites dissatisfaction with EU citizens registration rules

18.12.05 Leeds Brexit deal debateOn 14th January 2020 Lord Oates (LD) moved Amendment 2 to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill during its Committee Stage*. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate on the amendment:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: I thank the Minister for giving way. Does she agree that many of the 2.5 million people who have registered have done so resentfully and unhappily, because the process that they have been made to go through is effectively applying for a status that many of them have for decades felt that they should have had automatically?

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European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill: Bishop of Leeds says manner of withdrawal “will say something powerful about who we think we are”

Leeds0518bOn 13th January 2020 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the second reading debate in the House of Lords of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I look forward to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Barwell, for whom I had great respect when we served together in Croydon some years ago.

I think it is important that old arguments are not rerun in this debate: wherever one stands in relation to the 2016 referendum and subsequent debates, we are now where we are. I suspect, however, that it remains important for certain matters of principle to be rearticulated even at this stage, as the record will need to be clear when the history comes to be written, not least regarding the wisdom of writing into law hard deadlines for an implementation period. Do we not have anything to learn from recent history?

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Bishop of Leeds responds to Queen’s Speech on inter-connectedness in foreign policy

On 7th January 2020 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, opened the second day of debate on the Queen’s Speech, on the subjects of culture, language and foreign affairs:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, following the last debate on Iran, I think it is wise to take a step back from the detail, to which we shall shortly return, to consider culture and principle.

Twenty-twenty vision is something that, if claimed, proves only that the claimant is deluded. However, leaving fantasists to one side for a moment, we might take some wisdom from the late former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Helmut Schmidt. At the age of 91, he wrote a book called Ausser Dienst, or “out of office”, in which he advises young Germans considering a career in politics not to do so unless they speak at least two foreign languages to a competent degree. His reason? You can only understand your own culture if you look at it through the eyes of another culture, and to do that you need language; some things cannot be translated.

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