On 18th May the Bishop of Manchester spoke in the fourth day of debate on the Queen’s Speech, focusing on proposals for policing, building safety and conversion therapy.
My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Fullbrook, whose wisdom I look forward to hearing more often, for an excellent maiden speech. I also refer to my interests, stated in the register, in policing and housing.
A number of Bills mentioned in the gracious Speech will require our police to enforce new laws and regulations. We have already seen considerable disquiet expressed regarding what might amount to a very significant reduction in the ability of the public to engage in peaceful political protest, particularly where such protests directly or indirectly impact on others. I will reserve more detailed comments on this Bill for when it reaches your Lordships’ House, although I note the wise comments made earlier by the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti. For now, I want briefly to lay it alongside my experience of 12 months of rapidly changing coronavirus regulations.
On many occasions, the precise boundaries between regulations—matters that police can enforce—and guidance, to which they can only direct our attention, have been seriously blurred. Meanwhile, ministerial statements have put pressure on our police to issue fixed penalty notices, but the Crown Prosecution Service is quite clear that an adequate chain of evidence will be almost impossible to achieve.
On 18th May 2021 the Bishop of Manchester asked a question about antisemitism on university campuses, following a spate of attacks targeting Jewish people.
The Lord Bishop of Manchester [V]: Is the Minister aware that the Union of Jewish Students has raised serious concerns that Jewish students and societies are now being targeted with really quite disgusting anti-Semitic abuse due to the conflict in the Middle East? Will he reassure Jewish students that the Government will clamp down on all forms of campus anti-Semitism and encourage all universities not just to adopt but to implement the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism?
On 8th March 2021 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Domestic Abuse Bill at its Report Stage. The Bishop of Manchester had co-sponsored amendments with two other Peers, on exempting from the benefit cap for a year all those forced to claim benefits because of domestic abuse. The Government Minister responded to say that guidance would be strengthened to local authorities that those fleeing domestic abuse should be given priority in receiving discretionary housing payments.
The Lord Bishop of Manchester [V]: My Lords, I thank the Minister for her response to this group of amendments, in particular to Amendments 72 and 102, to which I have added my name. I also thank her for her reassurance that local authorities will be given clear encouragement to prioritise the needs of domestic abuse victims, as the noble Lord, Lord Best, requested.
Can she ensure that national statistics on the number of such cases accepted and rejected in each year will be counted and made public?
On 7th December the House of Lords voted on a Motion to approve a Report on the conduct of Lord Maginnis, a Member of the House. A vote for approval would also require the suspension of the Member. The Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of Manchester took part:
On 9th November 2020 the House of Lords debated and voted on the Government’s UK Internal Market Bill during its Committee stage. A cross-party group of Peers, including the Bishop of Leeds, had tabled motions that all the clauses of Part 5 of the Bill, which covered Northern Ireland, international law, and executive powers, should not remain in the Bill. These successfully passed by large majorities across two votes. Nine bishops took part in the votes.Continue reading “Votes: UK Internal Market Bill”
On 22nd October 2020 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a Ministerial statement to MPs on Covid-19. The BIshop of Manchester raised the need for restoration of trust between Ministers and community leaders in Manchester:
The Lord Bishop of Manchester [V]: My Lords, the Greater Manchester tier 3 proposals were the main UK news item across our broadcasting media for at least a week. However, to the best of my knowledge, at no time did senior members of Her Majesty’s Government come to Manchester to meet its people, hear its voices and seek to reach an agreement face to face with our civic leaders. Moreover, yesterday the Manchester Evening News published a story claiming that senior leaders logged into one crucial meeting only to discover that the Government side had set up controls that did not allow members to unmute themselves. It then allegedly used that facility to prevent voices being heard. Continue reading “Bishop of Manchester calls for respect towards local Manchester leaders in covid discussions with Government”