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”
“There is no doubt that someone who dwells on history can be somewhat tedious, but at the same time someone with a sense of destiny and no sense of history can be very dangerous.”- Bishop of London, 12/7/16
On 12th July 2016 the House of Lords debated a Government motion “That this House takes note of the Report of the Iraq Inquiry”. The Bishop of London, Rt Rev and Rt Hon Richard Chartres, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, it is humbling to follow such a powerful and authoritative voice. I am also grateful to the Minister for the constructive way he introduced this debate and invited us to think about the lessons we can apply now. Sir John Chilcot recommends more thorough analysis before military action and a more collaborative approach to policy-making. I imagine that every one of your Lordships would probably agree that the case is well made, but politicians caught up in oppressive events, a rapidly changing situation and a 24/7 news environment, and with an ally who is losing patience, do not have much time for pondering decisions. Therefore—this echoes many of the remarks of the previous noble Lord—the culture and assumptions that leaders bring to the crisis are hugely significant. Continue reading “Bishop of London responds to the Chilcot Report on the invasion of Iraq”
On the 5th May, Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they had made of the treatment of Afghan interpreters seeking to be housed in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked whether the Government could do more to recognize the value Afghan interpreters have provided for British military efforts.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, does the Minister not recognise that, with this story that is going on, not only do we owe them a debt of honour but what it is going to mean is that, when future conflict is going on, other people will think, “I dare not take the risk”? As well as being the right thing to do, this is actually in our own interests, because we need these people when we go into conflict to help us and co-operate with us. This is a long-term strategy. Could the Minister comment on that, please? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans supports call for UK to welcome Afghan interpreters”
On 8th March 2016 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, led a short debate in the House of Lords “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their current assessment of the prospects for a political solution to the civil war in Syria.” The Bishop’s speech opening the debate is below, alongside the Minister’s response. All speeches made in the debate can be viewed here.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, today’s short debate enables us to return to the prospects of a political solution to Syria’s catastrophic civil war—a civil war which now represents the world’s greatest humanitarian disaster and most dangerous geopolitical hotspot. The timing of this debate could not be more critical because, thankfully, we are now seeing tentative steps towards a cessation of hostilities in Syria and fragile efforts to resume face-to-face negotiations. The coming days and weeks will be difficult but when set against five years of utter desolation and destruction, these signs of hope represent an opportunity that must not be missed. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry leads Lords debate on political solution to war in Syria”
On the 11 February 2016 the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke during the second reading debate on the Government’s Armed Forces Bill. He highlighted the work of the Church of England to support the military covenant, the need to support service families and the significant work of military chaplains.
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, by happy coincidence, this debate takes place almost exactly on the anniversary of the signing of the Armed Forces corporate covenant by the right reverend Primates the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. There has been excellent work with the Minister in developing the impact of that covenant, and it is a pleasure to mark that anniversary today and anticipate the maiden speeches this afternoon.
This Bill properly clarifies the obligations and responsibilities of those serving in the Armed Forces and strengthens provision for maintaining good order and handling any instances of indiscipline with proper regard for justice. These provisions and the contributions that we have heard already remind us, although they are often technical, that individuals in our Armed Forces serve, and occasionally offend, in situations of stress and danger.The House will not be surprised therefore if I briefly draw attention to the importance—and I hope the Minister in summing up can confirm this—that we should all give to the areas of pastoral and family support for those who volunteer to serve us and the nation in this way in the Armed Forces, even when their behaviour falls below highest standards. Continue reading “Armed Forces Bill: Bishop of Portsmouth highlights support for service families and work of military chaplains”
On 15th December 2015 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received answers to two written questions to Government on the cost of air strikes in Iraq and Syria.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what has been the financial cost to date of UK air strikes against Daesh in Iraq.
Earl Howe: It is not possible to separate out the costs of military action in Iraq from that of wider counter-Daesh operations due to the inter-related nature of UK military activity. The net additional cost of UK counter-Daesh operations to date is approximately £150 million. This includes around £80 million for military operations between August 2014 – 31 March 2015 and a net additional cost to date in this financial year of around £70 million. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about financial cost of UK air strikes in Iraq and Syria”