The Lord Bishop of Leeds asked a question about security breaches during a debate on use of private mobile telephones and email accounts by ministers on Wednesday 2nd November 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I sympathise over the complexity of this matter, particularly given the technological developments, but there is the question of principle, which does not particularly relate to the recent cases cited. Several decades ago, when I was at GCHQ, the slightest security misdemeanour meant that you lost your job. Does that principle—that making a serious security error has consequences and a simple apology will not do—still apply? I cannot think of another circumstance in which an apology would have sufficed.
On 13th October 2022, the House of Lords debated the issue of corruption in the UK in Grand Committee. The Bishop of Leeds spoke in the debate, proposing that the government establish an ethics committee and an independent anti-corruption board:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, for securing this urgent debate, unnervingly but possibly appropriately overseen by a rather Caucasian Moses.
I was pleased to see that the United Kingdom Anti-Corruption Strategy 2017-2022 and the Library note for this debate both begin with definitions of corruption. Broadly speaking, they define it in terms of the abuse of office or illicit procurement for personal gain—the misuse of entrusted power, as the noble Lord, Lord Evans, put it. That is reasonable enough, but I want to offer another definition. Corruption happens when integrity is reduced to expediency and principle to mere pragmatism.
Of the many possible examples we could draw to mind, we might fix on the years of complacent steering of Russian money through the sewers of London. Despite many warnings about both the nature and impact of this, it was financially convenient and politically cost-free. Then, once Vladimir Putin went off-piste in Ukraine, suddenly the language changed to that of moral outrage: same money, same people, same oligarchs, same “brutal dictator”, same banks—the only thing that had changed was the temperature and political expediency. Principles of integrity and transparency, the virtues extolled by Nolan, were frequently mentioned and comprehensively ignored when convenient money was involved.
The Bishop of Leeds received the following written answer on 12th October 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the proposal made by the President of France on 9 May for the creation of a new “European political community” to promote cooperation between the EU and its neighbours; and what conversations they have held with (1) the President of France, and (2) other EU countries, in relation to the attendance of the UK at the first European Political Community Summit in Prague on 6 October.
On 10th September 2022 the House of Lords met to hear tributes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose death had been announced. The Bishop ofLeeds paid tribute:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, when training to be a professional linguist, I was trained to drill down to as few words as possible, so forgive my lack of eloquence now. When I think of Her late Majesty the Queen, I drill down to one word: grace. She exercised grace in her responsibilities at every level, and it was rooted in her avowed and admitted need of the grace of God; it was where her discipline of accountability came from.
The Bishop of Leeds asked the following question on 7th July 2022, during Lords exchanges on the Prime Minister’s meeting with Alexander Lebedev:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, if I am right, the visit to Alexander Lebedev came in the wake of the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury, which involved two Russian agents bringing, effectively, a chemical weapon through Heathrow, a commercial airport. Can the Minister give any assurance it could not happen again, and what assessment have the Government made of that episode and the dangers it caused for potentially thousands of people?
On 6th June 2022, the Bishop of Leeds asked a question on the recent killing of church worshippers in Nigeria:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, do the Government recognise that religious leaders do not always get recognised by some of these ideologically driven so-called religious groupings and organisations? So the condemnation by religious leaders, though important, has no impact on these ideologues. Do the Government have any approach, particularly at the ministerial conference coming up next month, to address this reality and discrepancy?
On 24th March 2022, the House of Lords debated commons amendments to the Skills and Post 16 Education Bill. The Bishop of Leeds spoke on behalf of the Bishop of Durham regarding provision for universal credit claimants:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, this House carried an amendment in the name of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham, who cannot be in his place today, concerning universal credit conditionality—this has been referred to several times—but it was not accepted when the Bill was considered in the other place.
If the Government are to achieve their levelling-up ambitions and enable individuals to secure better-paid employment with improved prospects, then it is essential to achieve greater integration of the support provided for skills development and training by the Department for Education and the Department for Work and Pensions.