On 25th April 2023, The Bishop of Lichfield made his maiden speech in a debate on the strength of parliamentary democracy in the UK, speaking on the importance of freedom of faith and belief, and the benefits of interfaith relationships and communication:
The Lord Bishop of Lichfield: My Lords, I am very grateful for the opportunity to speak in this House for the first time. I promise that I will be brief. I thank all noble Lords for their warm welcome and all the parliamentary staff and officers for their kindness and patience in explaining to me the procedures, traditions and geography of this extraordinary place.
Throughout my ministry I have had the joy of living and working in places of cheerful diversity—in Leicester, in south London and now in the West Midlands—and it is in the context of a diverse society that the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, has rightly asked this Question about the strength of our parliamentary democracy.
In 2010 the late Pope, His Holiness Benedict XVI, spoke about parliamentary democracy in an address here in Westminster. He pointed out that democracy is a process rather than a value in itself—a process whose vitality depends on its being open to people who are guided by the values and commitments that inform their conscience. He asked the question,
“where is the ethical foundation for political choices to be found?”.
Michael Geoffrey, Lord Bishop of Lichfield, was introduced and took the oath, supported by the Bishop of Southwark and the Bishop of Gloucester, and signed an undertaking to abide by the Code of Conduct.
On the 15th September 2015 the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, made his final speech before retirement from the House of Lords, during a debate on House of Lords Reform. The Bishop spoke about the contribution the Lords spiritual make to the House and the importance of the balance of power in the chamber being held by the independent and Crossbench Peers. Lord Cormack paid tribute on behalf of the House to the Bishop for all the work he has done in Parliament on behalf of the people of Staffordshire.
The Lord Bishop of Lichfield (Valedictory Speech): My Lords, one of my few really painful regrets is that I have not spent more time in your Lordships’ House, not least because of all the characters that one meets along these corridors. I remember that the first time I had a sandwich lunch here, I found myself sitting between one Peer who had just made a killing in his Bond Street gallery and another who had been in trade unions all his working life. It was wonderful to hear the conversation between them. Continue reading “Farewell speech by the Bishop of Lichfield – House of Lords Reform”
On 14th January 2015, Lord Phillips of Sudbury asked Her Majesty’s Government how they propose to enhance the amount and quality of citizenship education in order to increase the democratic participation and engagement of young citizens. The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Lichfield: My Lords, will the Minister join me in congratulating the young people highlighted by the I Will campaign, who have so ably demonstrated the impact that young people can have in transforming their own communities?
Lord Nash: I entirely agree with the right reverend Prelate. Active citizenship is an essential part of the citizenship national curriculum and all students should have the opportunity of participating in volunteering.
On 30th October 2014, Baroness Cox askedHer Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of recent developments in Nigeria, with particular reference to the terrorist activities of Boko Haram. The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Lichfield: My Lords, what does the Minister make of the claims recently made by journalists that the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram are being held as trophies for various tribal leaders, as is apparently common in these regions, and that they will be released as soon as some way is found to flatter these leaders?
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I have read those reports. Anyone who is kidnapped in any situation is a bargaining chip. The difficulty is knowing with whom one strikes the bargain and at what price for all.
The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt. Revd. Jonothan Gledhill, made a speech during the short evening debate on the long term financial sustainability of the National Music Plan in England. In it, he called for an increase in the number of music hubs, as well as greater financial support for them; highlighting the tremendous benefits a high-quality music education can have for children in all aspects of their lives.
Read the full transcript of his speech here:
The Lord Bishop of Lichfield: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, on introducing this important and timely short debate. I welcome the national plan for music education, which emphasises the importance of music and the creation of music education hubs in this country, I also welcome the fact that the report has taken note of the recommendations made in the Henley review, perhaps the most comprehensive and thorough review of the state of music education in England for many years. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley of Knighton, for his support of church music as well. Continue reading “BISHOP OF LICHFIELD SPEAKS IN SHORT DEBATE ON THE SUSTAINABILITY OF MUSIC EDUCATION”
On 27th October 2014, four bishops took part in divisions on the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, on the third day of its Report Stage. Details of the votes can be seen below.
Amendment 146 – Judicial review in the High Court and Upper Tribunal
Crossbench peer Lord Pannick moved amendment 146, which sought to soften the Government’s proposal that the High Court must refuse permission for a Judicial Review if it is ‘highly likely’ that the decision whose legality is being challenged would be unchanged even if the Review were successful.
Four bishops voted ‘content’ to this amendment. They were the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, and the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith. No bishop voted ‘not content’. There were: Contents: 247 | Not Contents: 181 | Result: Government Defeat
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