Bishop of Ely on importance of life skills and character education

On 29th June 2017 the House of Lords held the final day of debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, spoke in the debate about countering extremism and the importance of character education.

The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, like many in this House, I am sure, the events of the past few weeks have been very much on my heart and in my prayers, and in the aftermath of the terror attacks in London and Manchester, it is unsurprising that the Government have placed such an emphasis on counterterrorism and counterextremism measures in the gracious Speech. The Government are right to look at reviewing specific measures to tackle extremism and the places where extremist ideology is able to spread, but stopping extremist ideology where it already exists cannot be all that we do. Although we in this House may divide debates into topics and the Government into departments, as we know, in reality society is not just a series of policy areas, it is a rich fabric of connected life experiences of which education is formative for all. Its value in developing and defining the kind of society we want to become should never be underestimated. Continue reading “Bishop of Ely on importance of life skills and character education”

Vote: Queen’s Speech Motion on Brexit and single market

On 28th June 2017 the House of Lords voted on a motion to add an amendment to the Queen’s Speech, following a debate on exiting the European Union. The Archbishop of York took part.

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Queen’s Speech 2017: Archbishop of York calls for a Brexit that serves the common good

Archbishop of YorkOn 28th June, the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu contributed to the ongoing debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Archbishop’s speech addressed Brexit and he called for cross-party work to secure a Brexit that serves the common good.

The Archbishop of York My Lords, I have followed with interest the debates on the Queen’s Speech over the past week. I have been encouraged to hear assurances from the Leader of your Lordships’ House and various Ministers of the Government who seek to govern with humility and to forge cross-party agreement where they can. That is as it should be, regardless of the numerical strength or weakness of the Government.

Many issues raised in the Queen’s Speech and the Government’s agenda give us the best opportunity to have that wider consensus. No area is more important than that when it comes to negotiating Britain’s departure from the European Union and to forging a new relationship—a deep and special partnership—with the EU. Indeed, the reality is that there is no way in which a minority Government can hope to get all their legislation relating to Britain leaving the EU through Parliament without the help of others. The Government need to make a virtue out of that necessity.

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Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Bristol welcomes inclusion of measures on domestic violence

On 27th June 2017 the House of Lords debated the measures in the Queen’s Speech for justice and home affairs. The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, spoke in the debate, on mental health, domestic violence and prisons.

The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this important debate on the gracious Speech. I thank the noble Lords who have spoken thus far in what has been an interesting debate today.

I would like to draw attention to two or three things. The first is the fairly well hidden-away commitment in the gracious Speech to reform mental health legislation in order that mental health services might be prioritised in the NHS. Like much in the speech, the detail is particularly lacking at this point but I hope that noble Lords will join me in saying that that is an important and welcome development. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Bristol welcomes inclusion of measures on domestic violence”

Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Southwark praises community response to tragedies, calls for better funding of prison and emergency services

southwark-20feb17On 27th June 2017, the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Rev. Christopher Chessun, contributed to the ongoing debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop’s speech addressed the strong response from volunteers and emergency services to recent events, and called for a re-examination of current resources. Government Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth responded to the Bishop of Southwark’s speech at the end of the debate.

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I too wish to contribute to your Lordships’ debate on the humble Address. Last Thursday, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury observed in this House that the gracious Speech spoke of taking British values around the world, but for that to happen we need to know what we mean by British values. That applies equally to the measures under discussion today. Traditionally, these values have expressed themselves in a respect for the rule of law, local and national institutions, our liberties and freedoms, and parliamentary democracy. They were born of a society in which people participate, not a consumer society. From them spring mutual obligations, not merely contractual ones. Mutuality issues from civic virtue of the sort we have seen on our streets in response to calamity and terror in recent months in London and Manchester.

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Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Portsmouth says Government plans show modesty of ambition

portsmouth-180117-bOn 26th June 2017, the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Rev Christopher Foster, contributed to the Queen’s Speech debate on business, economic affairs, energy, transport, environment and agriculture. He used his speech to implore the government to use this parliamentary session to do more for those in his diocese and around the country.

Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, the Prime Minister has spoken of the awful events of recent weeks as signs of a society not at ease with itself. Yet amidst the tragedy and the pain, we see hope and the victory of hope. We have seen a remarkable depth of love and shared resolve, especially between faiths. We have been deeply moved by how people have responded to evil with generosity, openness and humility. I was struck by the force and feeling with which the Prime Minister used that last word in the debate in the other place on the gracious Speech. Humility is not a term frequently associated with politicians by the public. True, circumstances have left the Government with little choice but to take the humbler part, but that is no reason for cynicism. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Portsmouth says Government plans show modesty of ambition”

Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of St Albans on farming, fishing and the environment

stalbans190117On 26th June 2017, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Alan Smith contributed to the Queen’s Speech debate on business, economic affairs, energy, transport, environment and agriculture. He focused on the impact of Brexit on agriculture and fishing, and on the environment, calling for legislation on clean air.

Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I will confine myself to a few comments on agriculture and the environment. In doing so, I need to declare my interest as president of the Rural Coalition.

As regards agriculture and food, Brexit poses one of the greatest challenges to future food production. The UK produces some of the highest-standard food in the world and, indeed, some of the finest food. In our negotiations, it will be crucial that we do not sacrifice food quality, animal welfare or environmental protection as part of those multi-sector trade agreements which will form the foundation of future international economic partnerships. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of St Albans on farming, fishing and the environment”

Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Durham highlights opportunities and risks facing north east

durham-230117On 26th June 2017, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler contributed to the Queen’s Speech debate on business, economic affairs, energy, transport, environment and agriculture. He argued for the importance of investment in the North-East of England and including all groups in discussions around Brexit, the Northern Powerhouse and the Industrial Strategy.

Bishop of Durham: My Lords, perhaps I may add my welcome from these Benches to the noble Lord in his role as Minister. I also look forward to hearing the maiden speeches of the noble Lords, Lord Colgrain and Lord Mountevans, which will be made during this debate.

Since arriving in Durham, I have been struck that life feels more precarious for many in the north-east than it does elsewhere. There are lots of reasons for hope, not least the social regeneration in my home town of Bishop Auckland, but the sense of precariousness persists due to deep structural disadvantages that the region has faced for decades, even centuries. It is against this backdrop that some of the changes to welfare in the last Parliament felt particularly acute and remain of very deep concern. It is also against this backdrop that the uncertainty of the Brexit negotiation is felt. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Durham highlights opportunities and risks facing north east”

Queen’s Speech 2017: Brexit and foreign policy must be underpinned by shared values, says Archbishop

On 22nd June 2017 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby, spoke during the first day’s debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Archbishop spoke of the need for the UK’s approach to foreign affairs and Brexit to be informed by values that in turn ” spring from values lived clearly and coherently at home”. The full text is below, with excerpts from the speeches of others in response.

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I welcome the outward-looking emphasis in the speeches made so far, especially in the Minister’s speech and in that of the noble Lord, Lord Collins. What makes this such an exceptional time is that for perhaps only the second or third time in a couple of centuries, we find ourselves needing, as we come to Brexit, to redefine our whole approach to foreign policy and our place in the world. It should be a principal place, not only defined primarily by GDP, although that is important, or by military adequacy, although that is essential, as the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Craig, set out just now, but by respect internationally for our values, vision and determination and our capacity to deliver those things we promise. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Brexit and foreign policy must be underpinned by shared values, says Archbishop”

State Opening of Parliament 2017

On 21st June 2017 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opened Parliament. Amongst those members in attendance were the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of Birmingham, Durham, Newcastle, Oxford, St Albans, Southwark and Winchester. 

This picture was taken of the Lords Spiritual in the Bishops’ Robing Room, in their formal State Opening robes, prior to entering the Lords Chamber.:

Lords Spiritual left-right: St Albans, Durham, Canterbury, Winchester, York, Birmingham, Newcastle, Southwark

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