Bishop of St Albans asks Government about use of British-built military hardware by Saudia Arabia and UAE

On 6th November 2018 the Earl of Sandwich asked the Government “what steps they are taking to help end the famine caused by the war in Yemen.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, what representations have Her Majesty’s Government made to the KSA and UAE about the use of British-built military hardware, which some people are really concerned could be used for, as is being alleged, war crimes? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about use of British-built military hardware by Saudia Arabia and UAE”

Bishop of Coventry speaks on military intervention in Syria

Coventry171122 bOn 16th April Baroness Evans of Bowes Park repeated a statement from the Prime Minister on the UK’s military action in Syria. The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, responded to the statement:

 

The Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, it was very good to hear that assurance from the Leader of the House on the commitment to a long-term diplomatic solution. I Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry speaks on military intervention in Syria”

Bishop of Derby on the role of chaplaincy in the First World War and ‘Woodbine Willie’.

On 19th October 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Black “That this House takes note of the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele and of Her Majesty’s Government’s plans to commemorate it.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate, highlighting the role of chaplaincy in the First World War and the example of ‘Woodbine Willie’, Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy:

The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Black of Brentwood, and associate myself with the lovely phrase that it is both a privilege and very humbling to be part of this remembrance.

Passchendaele is, as we have heard, a symbol of war: the human cost, the sheer complexity of leadership and the sheer complexity of operations. Commemoration is not simply to remember but, as the noble Lord, Lord West, has just pointed out, to learn, to take something, to honour what people gave in their lives and commitment, and to see how that can inspire us and point us forward positively. It is a sign of huge issues in international relations, warfare and military and political leadership. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby on the role of chaplaincy in the First World War and ‘Woodbine Willie’.”

Bishop of Coventry asks about civilian deaths and cost of military action in Iraq

On 11th and 12th October 2017 Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, received written answers from the Government to questions about civilian casualties and the financial cost of armed conflict in Iraq:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry:
 (i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the cost of the UK’s participation in the US led coalition air strikes in support of the liberation of Mosul.
(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they intend to take to evaluate the deployment of airpower in heavily populated areas following the liberation of Mosul.
(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to investigate unintended civilian casualties arising from UK participation in the US led coalition airstrikes to liberate Mosul; and if so, what resources they (1) have committed, and (2) intend to commit, to that investigation.
(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the number of civilians killed during the liberation of Mosul.

Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks about civilian deaths and cost of military action in Iraq”

Bishop of Portsmouth calls for review of defence priorities in light of changing global situation

On the 12th January Lord Robertson of Port Ellen hosted a debate “that this House takes note of the future capability of the United Kingdom’s armed forces in the current international situation”. The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster,  highlighted the need for a new Strategic Defence and Security Review, alongside recognition of new partnership and leadership roles.

BishPortsspeechtaxcreditsThe Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, agree with it or not, Brexit was a decision to determine our own path. This debate requires us to consider critically whether we have the capacity to determine our own strategic path in the realm of defence and security. The extent of our global reach must reflect our economic and strategic interests as well as our security and military concerns in these changing times, which now make these considerations, as one analyst has put it, “supercharged”.

My anxiety is that there is a gap, if not sometimes a gulf, between rhetoric about our concerns and ambitions on the one hand and our constrained capability on the other.

Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth calls for review of defence priorities in light of changing global situation”

Bishop of Portsmouth leads debate on welfare of armed forces and their families


portsmouth241016On the 9th January 2017, the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, led a short debate in the Lords, to ask the Government “what is their assessment of the role of the Armed Forces Covenant in ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated with fairness and respect.” Earl Howe, the Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, responded on behalf of the Government. Both their speeches are reproduced below in full. The speeches of other Members in the debate can be read here.


The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, it is both a privilege and a responsibility to ask this Question and open this debate on the impact of the Armed Forces covenant. It is a privilege because, despite my day job, opportunities to talk about good news do not occur as often as you might think, and a responsibility because it is clear that there is work to be done as service personnel and their families still suffer disadvantage and do not always receive the consideration that they need. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth leads debate on welfare of armed forces and their families”

Church Commissioners’ written answers: War Memorials

On the 30 November 2016 Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, answered two written questions about the work of the Church to support veterans and construct war memorials.

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what the Church of England’s policy is on erecting new war memorial plaques. Continue reading “Church Commissioners’ written answers: War Memorials”