Bishop of Leeds speaks in debate on union and constitutional issues

The Bishop of Leeds spoke in a debate on a report from the Constitution Committee – Respect and Co-operation: Building a Stronger Union for the 21st century, on 20th January 2023 :

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Taylor, and the committee, for an excellent report. I hope that your Lordships will forgive me if I do not go into the detail of the report but offer what might sound a bit of a left-field observation. The report is subtitled Building a Stronger Union for the 21st Century. However, an assumption that we often bring to these debates is that what we had in the 20th century and before will automatically persist and that everyone buys into it.

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Bishop of Leeds asks about supply of tanks and armaments to Ukraine

The Bishop of Leeds asked a question on the donation of tanks and armaments to Ukraine on 19th January 2023, following an update on the ongoing conflict:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I endorse all that has been said thus far in strong support of the Government on this. First, the Minister gave us some details of how some of the armaments being given to Ukraine are being replenished. Have the Government made any assessment of what the head of the UK Armed Forces said recently about the impact on UK defence of the donation of tanks? Secondly, it is clear that Olaf Scholz is putting the onus of responsibility on to the United States—that is, if it will send tanks, the Germans will agree to Leopard tanks being sent. Are the Government putting pressure on the United States to do that?

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Bishop of Leeds asks about new legislation on NGOs in Pakistan

The Bishop of Leeds received the following written answer on 16th December 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the government of Pakistan’s rules regarding the registration and operation of international NGOs in that country and the impact that these rules have had on the work of NGOs that His Majesty’s Government supports.

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Bishop of Leeds asks about corruption relating to sanctions on Russia

The Bishop of Leeds asked a question regarding the government’s response to money laundering relating to Russia, during a debate on Russian activities in Georgia on 16th November 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, referring back to the original Question, have the Government made any assessment of how corrupt wealth is being laundered to get around sanctions in Russia by pushing the money through places such as Georgia?

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Bishop of Leeds asks about freedom of expression in Pakistan

The Bishop of Leeds received the following written answer on 16th November 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) freedom of religion or belief, (2) freedom of assembly, and (3) freedom of expression, in Pakistan.

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Bishop of Leeds asks about import bans on products produced by forced labour

The Bishop of Leeds received the following written answer on 16th November 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds asked His Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to introducing an import ban on (1) all products produced by forced labour, and (2) on products produced by all Chinese companies listed as exploiting forced labour.

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Bishop of Leeds asks about refugees from Ukraine

The Bishop of Leeds received the following written answer on 9th November 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds asked His Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to (1) review, and (2) update, their (a) refugee resettlement programme, and (b) emergency migration contingency measures, in response to the shifting nature of the war in Ukraine.

Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con): As the war in Ukraine evolves, the Government will continue to monitor the situation and offer support, including through safe and legal pathways.

Bishop of Leeds asks about UK assistance for Ukraine

The Bishop of Leeds received the following written answers on 7th November 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made (1) of Russia’s destruction of Ukraine’s power infrastructure, and (2) of the prospects of further large-scale refugee flows from Ukraine.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): The UK condemns Russia’s intentional bombing of Ukraine’s civilian energy infrastructure, which is causing widespread destruction.

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Bishop of Leeds speaks of value of UK public service broadcasting

On 3rd November 2022, the House of Lords held a debate on public service broadcasting to mark the centenary of the BBC. The Bishop of Leeds spoke in the debate, with specific reference to the value of UK public service broadcasting worldwide, and the future of Channel 4:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Foster, for securing this very important debate. Before saying anything further on the theme, I want to express thanks to and admiration for those who prepared the Library briefing. I have been knocking around these issues for a couple of decades, and this briefing is a model of narrative accuracy and concision.

Public service broadcasting in the UK is unique on the planet and one area in which this country is genuinely a world leader, which is why it is so important that, in the centenary year of the BBC and the day after the 40th birthday of Channel 4, we assess the value of what we have and steel ourselves against the ideologically driven impulse to diminish it. Yesterday, I asked a friend who works in public service broadcasting what she would focus on in a debate such as this. Her response was immediate: imagine a world without it. That is, imagine a world in which broadcasting serves only narrow cultural or political interests and is subject purely to commercial or transactional persuasion. I might put it like this: look at broadcasting in the United States. Price is not the same as value.

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Bishop of Leeds asks about potential breaches of international law in new legislation

The Bishop of Leeds asked a question about the importance of following international law on 2nd November 2022, during a debate following a government statement on national security:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I really welcome the Statement and the very full answers that the Minister has given. It is very encouraging. However, when the Statement refers to protection that defends our democratic institutions, it is not just external threats: there are internal threats that weaken our defences, such as putting draft legislation into Parliament that threatens to breach international law. If we uphold the rule of law, we cannot continue to do that.

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