Bishop of Portsmouth – we must not let Brexit dilute our moral purpose

On 15th May 2019, the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Horam, “That this House takes note of the Report from the European Union Committee Brexit: Common Security and Defence Policy missions and operations (16th Report, HL Paper 132).” The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke in the debate: 

19.04.02 Portsmouthb

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth:  My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Dannatt, has just reminded us that none of us participating in this debate can forget that we will shortly mark the 75th anniversary of what must surely be the most defining day in Europe in living memory: D-day. That has special significance for the city of Portsmouth, and indeed the whole diocese I serve. As a result, we will have the pleasure—I think—of welcoming the President of the United States into our midst as part of the commemorations.

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Bishop of Portsmouth asks about bureaucracy in new apprenticeship system

On 13th May 2019 Lord Fox asked the Government “how many people are currently registered as undertaking (1) Intermediate, (2) Advanced, (3) Higher, and (4) Degree apprenticeships.” The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: Is the Minister aware—and, if not, I and perhaps other noble Lords are ready to give examples—of the bureaucratic burdens and delays being experienced? For universities, the added obligation to report to and share data with the Education and Skills Funding Agency, as well as the three usual reports, is exacerbated by an identical reporting requirement for levels 2 and 7, NVQ and postgraduate. The burden seems disproportionate. For large levy-payers, there are unexplained delays in approving new apprenticeship standards. Will the Minister urgently address these to improve take-up? Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks about bureaucracy in new apprenticeship system”

Bishop of Portsmouth speaks on 70th anniversary of NATO

On 2nd April 2019 the House of Lords debated a Government motion “That this House takes note of the seventieth anniversary of the founding of NATO and its continuing role in the United Kingdom’s defence and security.” The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, it is as ever a pleasure to speak in your Lordships’ House, but today perhaps I feel the privilege especially. I cannot report that, 70 years ago, a Bishop contributed to this House’s debate on the founding of NATO. Without the personal, military, diplomatic or political experience to which the Minister alluded, I am grateful for the forbearance of your Lordships in listening to my contribution today.

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Bishop of Portsmouth on women’s equality in the Church of England and the distance still to travel

On 7th March 2019 the Government Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford led a debate in the House of Lords, “That this House takes note of International Women’s Day and the United Kingdom’s role in advancing gender equality globally.” The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of PortsmouthMy Lords, I rise with some caution, conscious of the considerable risks as a man speaking on International Women’s Day. But dwelling in ambiguity is perhaps the lot of those occupying these Benches. I am acutely aware, for instance, that as a Lord spiritual speaking on defence matters, I interest myself in swords and in ploughshares.

It was sporting those two hats that I recently watched the RAF’s current recruitment advertisement. Its images depict the reality of women in a service in which every role is open to everyone. We see women readying themselves for combat, as engineers and pilots. The voiceover, alas, articulates a more familiar reality, in which women are told, predominantly by men, that their concerns centre on lip gloss, skincare and the contents of their wardrobe. The disparity between voice and image strikingly expresses the distance travelled, but also the many miles we have yet to traverse. I sensed some of this while listening to this week’s Questions and debates in your Lordships’ House. We have reflected this week on FGM, on consent, on pay and abuse, on how much has been done, on how much we want to do and on how much there is to do.

Bishop of Portsmouth asks Government if new frigates will be built in Portsmouth

Portsmouth 150318On 6th March 2019 Lord West of Spithead asked the Government a question about contracts to build  five Type 31e frigates. The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, asked a follow up question: 

Lord Bishop of Portsmouth:  My Lords, will the Minister confirm that these frigates will be based in Portsmouth, and when a decision will be announced to this House? As the home of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth is the obvious home for these frigates, not least because the general purpose Type 23 frigates are currently based there. This decision would bring much support and give reassurance to the city, community and the diocese I serve. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks Government if new frigates will be built in Portsmouth”

Bishop of Portsmouth – national crisis of poverty must be urgently tackled

On 21st January 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Stroud “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of metrics to measure United Kingdom poverty, in the light of the report from the Social Metrics Commission.” The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, Stalin, not often quoted on this Bench, is said to be the author of the maxim:

“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic”.

On that, and indeed on everything else, I disagree with the Marshal. A single person living in poverty is a tragedy; that millions do so is an affront to our values, our common decency and how we think of ourselves as a nation.

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Bishop of Portsmouth asks Government about impact of welfare benefit two-child limit on families

On 4th December 2018 the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, received written answers to four questions on welfare benefits and the two-child limit:

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the statistics they published on 28 June, how many (1) families, and (2) children have been affected by the policy to provide support for a maximum of two children in each month since that policy came into effect. Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth asks Government about impact of welfare benefit two-child limit on families”