Votes: Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations

On 15th June 2020 two votes took place on the Government’s Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations. Eight bishops took part across both Divisions of the House. The debate can be read here.

House of Lords Division Lobby

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Bishop of Carlisle opposes Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations

On 15th June the House of Lords debated the Government’s “Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No. 2) Regulations 2020”. The Rt Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle, spoke in support of an amendment to negative the Regulations, highlighting its effects on abortion on grounds of disability. In two subsequent votes, he and other bishops voted against, but the House of Lords passed the Regulations without amendment by large majorities. 

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I support the amendment from the noble Baroness, Lady O’Loan, and will focus on the proposal in Regulation 7 that abortion for disabilities including Down’s syndrome should be available during the first 12 weeks without question or counselling and then potentially through to birth.​

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Church Commissioners written answer: Church action on problem gambling

spelman170119eOn 22nd July 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question, from Gregory Campbell MP, regarding problem gambling:

Gregory Campbell (DUP): 278399 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to tackle problem gambling.

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Bishops propose gambling amendment to Northern Ireland Bill

newcastle230119bOn 15th July 2019 the Bishop of Newcastle moved an amendment on behalf of the Bishop of St Albans, to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill: “(f) delivering regulatory alignment between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom in regard to gambling”. The amendment was accepted by Government and agreed by the House without a vote.

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, my friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans has been unavoidably detained in his diocese, so has asked me to speak to his amendment. This is a probing amendment attempting to address an issue that causes regulatory anomalies, in that Northern Ireland does not have the same standards for gambling as Great Britain. This amendment is an opportunity for the Government to enable greater harmony in gambling regulation and legislation. The existing lack of alignment has appeared piecemeal in nature since the Northern Ireland Act 1998, and has led to confusing quirks. For brevity’s sake, I will quickly outline the differences the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans has identified as being of difficulty to the people of Northern Ireland, who do not have a well-regulated gambling industry with safeguards for all.

Northern Ireland does not use the Gambling Act 2005. Instead, it relies on the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Northern Ireland) Order 1985. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans has suggested that this outmoded basis for a modern gambling industry has led to a lack of safeguards. As the Department for Communities writes on its website, one in 50 Northern Irish adults has a gambling-related problem, which is,

“three times higher than in GB”.

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Votes: EU (Withdrawal) Bill

On 2nd May 2018 the House of Lords considered amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill at its Report Stage. A vote took place on an amendment to the Bill relating to the border between Northern Ireland the the Republic of Ireland, in which one bishop took part: 

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EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill: Archbishop of York speaks on amendment about Northern Ireland impact

york-170117-bOn Tuesday 7th March 2017, the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at Report stage and Third Reading. Labour Peer Lord Hain moved Amendment 5, seeking to ensure the Prime Minister give an undertaking to support the right of Northern Irish people to claim Irish citizenship as per the Belfast Agreement in negotiations following the triggering of Article 50. The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu welcomed the probing amendment for raising awareness of the issue.

The Archbishop of York My Lords, it is a real delight to follow the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames. When he was Archbishop of Armagh he invited me endless times to visit Northern Ireland, even during the terrible Troubles. As a result we ended up spending a lot of holidays in that particular part of Ireland. It is a very beautiful, wonderful place. The noble Lords, Lord Hain and Lord Reid, spoke with insight. I would like to follow in their footsteps on this wonderful probing amendment that the noble Lord, Lord Hain, says he is not going to put to a vote. Continue reading “EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill: Archbishop of York speaks on amendment about Northern Ireland impact”