EU Withdrawal Bill: Bishop of Leeds urges Peers to ‘model good ways of disagreeing’

On Tuesday 30th January 2018, the Lords considered the Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill at Second Reading. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate, focusing on the purpose and tone of Brexit discussions. 

Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, many speakers will attend to the technical and legal details of the Bill and they will be better equipped to do so than I am. I therefore want to use my time to pay attention to a question that lies behind the nature of the Bill and the choices that we are required to make in scrutinising and attempting to improve it. This question applies to all sides of the argument, whether we think that leaving the European Union is an unmitigated disaster or the best thing since Winston Churchill mobilised the English language and sent it into battle. Continue reading “EU Withdrawal Bill: Bishop of Leeds urges Peers to ‘model good ways of disagreeing’”

Votes – Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill 2017-19

On 15th January 2018 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill at its Report Stage.  Several bishops took part in two votes on amendments to the Bill: Continue reading “Votes – Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill 2017-19”

Bishop of Leeds calls for honesty and transparency over UK’s defence capabilities

On Monday 15th January 2018 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a Government statement on the National Security Capability Review. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, would the Minister agree with me that it is important in any public statement that the people of this country are properly apprised of the fact that, if we say yes to and prioritise some elements of our defence capability, we are inevitably saying no to others, and that we are given a proper appraisal of what our capability actually is? In this country, particularly in some of our newspapers, we still hear statements that imply almost that Britannia still rules the waves. Our rhetoric and prioritising ought to match the reality of the situation in which we find ourselves. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds calls for honesty and transparency over UK’s defence capabilities”

Bishop of Leeds asks Government about funding of anti-democratic Islamist forces in Syria

leeds-20117On 20th December 2017 Baroness Cox asked the Government “what is their assessment of the current situation in Syria”. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow-up question:.

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, would the Minister agree that there is a danger here that support for, and funding of, anti-Assad forces, however understandable that may seem from the outside, might lead to exactly the same unintended consequences that we have seen in Iraq—namely, the strengthening of anti-democratic Islamist forces who have no intention of delivering the freedoms that we assume they should? Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks Government about funding of anti-democratic Islamist forces in Syria”

Bishop of Leeds says conduct of Brexit is aiding Russian policy of destabilising the West.

leeds-20117-bOn the 18th December 2017 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, responded to a Government Statement on the recent European Council Meeting: He asked about the UK approach to Russian foreign policy and the progress made with the Brexit negotiations:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, the Leader seems disappointed that the Statement has not been welcomed as it might have been. I do welcome it but I do not think it is as it has been portrayed; that is, the progress that has been made thus far is simply the opening gambit and the real hard work is going to come in the next phase. It seems to me that so far not a great deal has been achieved, except that we can go on to talk about the next phase. I will make a quick observation and then put a question. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds says conduct of Brexit is aiding Russian policy of destabilising the West.”

Bishop of Leeds highlights importance of creative economy to post-Brexit trade

leeds-20117-bOn the 18th December 2017 Lord Whitty led a debate on the report of the European Union Committee – Brexit: trade in non-financial services (18th Report, Session 2016-17, HL Paper 135). The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I am no expert on the technical elements of trade in non-financial services, so have listened to speeches with both interest and admiration. Most of the points I wanted to make have already been made, so, given the time constraints, I will make a single point that lies behind the detail of the report—the reason why the frictionless movement of talent matters. I invite the Minister to note what I say, but not necessarily respond to it tonight.

Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds highlights importance of creative economy to post-Brexit trade”

Bishops show support for Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill

The following letter, in support of Baroness Hamwee’s Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill signed by eight bishops, seven of whom are Lords Spiritual, appeared in The Times newspaper on 15th December 2017.

REFUGEE REFORM BILL

Sir, Britain is one of the few countries in Europe that does not allow refugee children who arrive alone in the UK to bring a parent here. This is the most glaring example of overly restrictive rules that deny many refugees the chance to live with their family. Today Baroness Hamwee will sponsor the Refugee Families Reunion Bill in the House of Lords, which would allow a wider range of family members to be reunited with refugees living in the UK. Continue reading “Bishops show support for Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill”