On 16th May 2022 the Bishop of St Edmundsbury an Ipswich, Rt Revd Martin Seeley, gave his maiden speech in the House of Lords, in the debate on the Queen’s Speech.
The Lord Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich (Maiden Speech): It is a huge honour to be able to address your Lordships’ House today. I thank noble Lords for kind words and acts of welcome. I have been very struck by the kindness and warmth of the staff who work here and who have supported me in my early faltering steps. I regret that a bout of Covid last week prevented me attending at all, but I look forward to building a pattern of regular engagement in the work of this House.
I have had the joy and privilege of serving the people of the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, which comprises most of the wonderful county of Suffolk, for the past seven years. I previously served in Scunthorpe, New York City, St Louis, Missouri, Westminster, the Isle of Dogs and Cambridge, and I simply reflect on the curious ways of the Church of England that I ended up serving a largely rural diocese.
On 11th May 2022 the Bishop of Guildford, Rt Revd Andrew Watson, made his maiden speech in the House of Lords, in a debate on the Queen’s Speech:
The Lord Bishop of Guildford (Maiden Speech): My Lords, it is a privilege to be making my maiden speech in this most important debate on Her Majesty’s gracious Speech. I thank noble Lords for their welcome this afternoon.
As I have taken my first infant steps as a Member of the House, I have been struck by the genuine warmth and friendliness that I have experienced from fellow Members, along with House officials and staff. I am equally impressed by the quality of the debate that I have witnessed and the probing but courteous spirit in which it has been exercised. I have also begun to connect with those involved in the area of freedom of religion and belief, in which I have a lifelong interest, and I applaud their efforts to advance these basic human rights around the globe.
On 21st September 2020 the Bishop of Manchester, Rt Revd David Walker, made his maiden speech in the House of Lords during the Second Reading debate on the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill:
The Lord Bishop of Manchester (Maiden Speech) [V]: My Lords, I begin by expressing my thanks to the parliamentary staff and fellow Members of this House, who have both welcomed me and helped me understand something of the workings of this place. I also congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Vaizey, on his excellent and entertaining maiden speech reminding us of the importance of rehabilitation—not only for sacked government Ministers. I declare my interest as chair of the Greater Manchester police’s Ethics Committee, which is recorded in the register.
On 19th July 2018 the Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, delivered his first speech in the House of Lords, during a debate led by Lord Norton of Louth, “That this House takes note of the value to the United Kingdom of higher education as an export.” The full text of his speech is below, as are the welcoming remarks from other Members of the House:
On 28th June 2018 the Bishop of London, Rt Revd & Rt Hon Sarah Mullally, gave her first speech in the House of Lords, during a debate led by Baroness Thomas of Winchester “that this House takes note of the different challenges facing disabled people in the United Kingdom in 2018”. The full transcript is below, along with the words of welcome to the House from other Members:
On 15th March 2018 the Bishop of Lincoln, Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, delivered his maiden speech in the House of Lords during a debate on the economy. The text is below, with comments from other Members who spoke in the debate:
Lord Bishop of Lincoln (Maiden Speech): My Lords, I thank those who have made me so welcome to your Lordships’ House, not least those who hail from Lincolnshire, including several proud doorkeepers who either live in the county or have served there in the armed services. We share a love for our historic county, the beauty of landscape and building, not least Lincoln Cathedral, about which noble Lords may have heard from the noble lord, Lord Cormack; the pleasure of its food—I am a bigger man now than I was when I went there—and, most importantly, the rugged, independent-mindedness of its people. I also thank those who have said warm words of encouragement in this debate. Continue reading “Bishop of Lincoln delivers maiden speech during debate on economy”
On 25th May 2016 the House of Lords held its fifth day of debate the Queen’s Speech. During the debate the Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, gave her maiden speech, becoming the second female bishop to speak in the House of Lords. As well as introducing herself to the House she addressed the Government’s life chances strategy, and regional growth in the North. Her speech is below in full, alongside responses from Peers.
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, the theological understanding of grace is of the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to deserve it. In these early days in your Lordships’ House, it is grace that I have experienced—wonderful kindness and a warmth of welcome from your Lordships, the staff and all who work in this place. It has been entirely undeserved but a truly heart-warming experience. It will be no surprise to your Lordships that one of the loveliest and warmest welcomes came from the late Lord Walton—a fine and godly man, and a distinguished son of the north-east.
I grew up in the 1950s on a large London overspill council estate. In those large sprawling estates there were precious few community facilities and the school I attended had two classes of 45 children in each year group. The life chances of many growing up on that estate were very limited. Out of the 90 children in my year group, only 10 went to grammar school.
“Every parish priest and bishop knows what it is to care for the whole community. It is a great aim for the Government, as set out at the start of Her Majesty’s gracious Speech, to, “legislate in the interests of everyone in our country” and, “adopt a one-nation approach”. The success of that will be one of the measures by which the Government are judged.
The role of the Lords spiritual is distinctive and, we hope, helpful to the workings of this House. We are non-partisan in a political process. Our underlying concern is with the integration of beliefs and values that guide what we do, make our spirituality and animate us as human beings. We take the long view when the pressures are often to the short term.” – Bishop of Salisbury, 2/6/15
On 2nd June 2015 the Bishop of Salisbury spoke for the first time in the House of Lords. In his address, which came during the debate on the Queen’s Speech, he spoke of his background in the Church of England, his diocese, and his interest in the environment, climate change and energy. The full text is below and can also be watched online here.
“Give a voice to the experience of those who otherwise are silenced. This is why the Lords spiritual are here, rooted in communities across the whole of our country, networked internationally, informed, often inconveniently and compelled to tell the truth as they see it. I hope to fulfil this vocation with the humility and confidence that it surely demands”. – Bishop of Leeds, 1/6/15
On 1st June 2015 the Bishop of Leeds spoke for the first time in the House of Lords. In his address, which came during the debate on the Queen’s Speech, he spoke of his background in the Church of England, his diocese, constitutional change, Europe and how economic and devolution proposals might impact on places such as Bradford. The full text is below and can also be watched online here.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds (Maiden Speech): My Lords, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in this debate, especially given the kindness I have already met in this House since being introduced in February. I wish to express my gratitude to all sides of the House for the welcome I have received and particularly to the staff, who have assisted and advised me, sometimes on the same issue more than once. This coming Saturday I will be speaking in Stuttgart before thousands of people along with Kofi Annan and the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. At least today I can address this House in English. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds makes first speech in the House of Lords – constitution, devolution, economy”
On the 22nd January 2015 the Bishop of Southwark gave his maiden speech to the House of Lords on the subject of the Local Government Finance Settlement. Bishop Christopher introduced himself his interests to the House in the usual manner before turning to address the debate. Speaking about the importance of local government Bishop Christopher addressed the impact cuts to funding have on people in greatest need, the importance of early intervention alongside the ease of losing sight of people in need during complex financial discussions instead of focusing on ensuring human flourishing. The Bishop was formerly welcomed to the House in the usual manner by Baroness Donaghy and the Mininster Lord Ahmad.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark (Maiden Speech): My Lords, I address your Lordships’ House on this first occasion with some trepidation. As I was advised not to drift into preaching mode, I will resist the temptation to expound on the interesting passage from scripture that the noble Lord has just quoted.
As a student of history, I am conscious of the dignity and importance of this House in the life of our nation, and I am acutely aware of the privilege of sharing in your Lordships’ deliberations. Throughout my life I have been inspired by the model of service found in the life of Jesus Christ, and I am humbled when I reflect on where that service has led me—not least, now, to your Lordships’ House. I will seek to serve to the best of my ability, using the gifts that God has given me. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark gives maiden speech in debate on the Local Government Finance Settlement”