Bishop of Chelmsford responds to Government statement on race disparity audit

On 10th October 2017 a Government statement about the new race disparity audit was repeated in the House of Lords, the Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, responded to the statement: 

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, although, let me be clear, the Church of England has nothing to teach anyone else on this subject—our record is not a good one—in the diocese of Chelmsford, where I serve, which includes the east London boroughs, which ​have some of the most diverse communities in Europe, we have found that of course there is racism and xenophobia but there is also what has been explained to me as unconscious bias.

It is not quite the same as racism; it is those things which prevent us from seeing each other as clearly as we need to. Both in the Church of England generally and in the diocese where I serve, we have done a lot of training over the past couple of years to help people to see their own unconscious bias towards people, and this is already bearing fruit in the church context with black and global majority people coming forward into positions. I wondered whether the Government had looked at that both for us and in wider society to try to move the debate on beyond the binary thing of, “Somebody is a racist or they are not”. Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford responds to Government statement on race disparity audit”

Bishop of Ely urges Government to speak out against attacks on EU citizens living in UK

On 4th July 2016 Lord Soley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what role they see for the United Kingdom in relation to the European Union”. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow up question.

ElyThe Lord Bishop of Ely: Whatever happens in the long term, in the meantime will the Government speak up trenchantly against the ugly and unseemly behaviour of some of our fellow citizens in the way they speak to and are violent towards citizens from the EU who are resident here, and who are productive citizens in our midst?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The right reverend Prelate is of course not only right but clearly has the complete agreement of this House. This country has proved throughout its history that it not only tolerates but welcomes those who come here to contribute to our society. I deplore attacks upon them.


Bishop of Chelmsford asks about Free Speech in Universities

Chelmsford 251115On the 27th June 2016, Lord Leigh of Hurley asked the Government “what steps they are taking to counter anti-Semitism on university campuses in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a supplementary question: Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford asks about Free Speech in Universities”

Bishops vote to make membership or support of BNP or NF disciplinary offence for clergy

(press release via

BNP and National Front incompatible with teaching of Church

03 June 2014

The House of Bishops of the Church of England have voted to make membership or support of the British National Party (BNP) or National Front (NF) a potential disciplinary offence for its clergy. Continue reading “Bishops vote to make membership or support of BNP or NF disciplinary offence for clergy”

Immigration Bill – Bishop of Newcastle raises concern about potential for discrimination by landlords

During the committee stage of the Government’s Immigration Bill in the Lords on 12th March 2014, the Bishop of Newcastle drew attention to the potential impact of measures in clause 16 that require nationality checks on potential tenants by private landlords. The Bishop asked the Minister whether the need for private landlords to have regard to a code of practice was in itself robust enough to prevent discrimination against migrants or those of foreign name or appearance.14.03 Bishop of Newcastle

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, perhaps I may also ask for some clarification. One of my concerns about this part of the Bill is that many landlords will simply not rent to anyone who seems to be foreign or who does not hold a British passport for fear of getting it wrong and being fined. I am afraid that that will inadvertently result in further racial discrimination and provide a charter for those unscrupulous landlords who are racist.

In response to the consultation, the Government accepted that the new rules might provoke landlords to discriminate against people they perceive to be foreign rather than to conduct proper checks. They also recognised the risk that vulnerable people might be impacted. So, in relation to the code of practice and the associated guidance which will make it clear that the checks do not allow landlords to act in a manner inconsistent with the UK’s equality legislation, is that in itself sufficient? It simply requires landlords to read the code and adhere to it without any redress at all if they do not. Continue reading “Immigration Bill – Bishop of Newcastle raises concern about potential for discrimination by landlords”