Lords Spiritual No Longer, Part One: The Bishops of Ripon

On Easter Day, 20th April 2014, the Church of England Dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield, will be merged to form a new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales. Although the bishop of that new diocese will in due course join other bishops in the House of Lords, the dissolution of the three former dioceses marks an end to the era of the Bishops of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield as Lords Spiritual. Much has been written and recorded about the wider contributions of successive occupants of these Sees, but here – in three parts –  is a (very) brief history of those bishops as parliamentarians.

Part One: The Bishops of Ripon

Since its formation in 1836 there have been 12 bishops of the diocese of Ripon (and latterly, Ripon & Leeds).

Longley and Bickersteth

Its first bishop was Rt Rev Charles Longley, who served until his translation to Durham in 1856, before becoming Archbishop of Canterbury in 1862.

NPG 1056,Charles Thomas Longley,by George Richmond
Bishop Charles Longley

Longley had married the daughter of the Postmaster General in Prime Minister Lord Melbourne’s Government. However, as the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography records, “Melbourne agreed that Longley need not be constrained to vote with the government on matters of Irish church policy. Longley actually voted against the government on other issues besides the Irish church, to Melbourne’s pain and displeasureLongley opposed the Oxford University Bill of 1854 which, among other things, reduced the proportion of clerical fellows in each college and reconstituted the central government of the university. In 1854 Longley was named as one of two churchmen who would join the executive commissioners empowered to revise the statutes of the university and colleges of Oxford.” Continue reading “Lords Spiritual No Longer, Part One: The Bishops of Ripon”

Bishop of Ripon and Leeds uses final speech to speak about economic and climatic challenges in the UK

R_LIn a wide-ranging debate, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds focused his remarks on the need for a clear and coherent national strategy for responding to natural disasters such as the recent extreme flooding in parts of the country. He also urged the Government to link such a strategy with a long-term and international strategy for tackling climate change. He also commented on the role of the Church of England in education and its commitment to ensuring that there is adequate provision as the population grows. Continue reading “Bishop of Ripon and Leeds uses final speech to speak about economic and climatic challenges in the UK”

Bishop of Ripon & Leeds welcomes work of metal theft task force

On 23rd January, 2014, Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they will continue to support the metal theft task force.

R_LThe Bishop of Ripon and Leeds asked a supplementary question:

The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, the metal theft task force has been of inestimable value in checking the epidemic of lead theft from churches. Stripping of lead from church roofs has caused extensive rain damage to historic interiors. Will the Minister consult English Heritage, the Churches Conservation Trust and the cathedrals and church buildings division of the Archbishops’ Council as to how the destruction of our heritage can be combated and the work of the task force maintained? Continue reading “Bishop of Ripon & Leeds welcomes work of metal theft task force”

Bishop of Ripon and Leeds speaks about affordable housing in rural communities

R_LOn 22nd January, 2014, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds took part in a short debate, led by Baroness Ford, on increasing the supply of affordable housing, focusing his remarks on delivering housing in rural areas. Continue reading “Bishop of Ripon and Leeds speaks about affordable housing in rural communities”

Bishop of Ripon and Leeds urges action to end use of slave labour in supply chains

R_LOn 22nd January, 2014, the Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to combat human trafficking and other forms of contemporary slavery.

The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds asked a supplementary question:

The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, there remains a serious issue of slavery in the business supply chain that affects much of what we buy. Will the Minister pursue a business-friendly model to eradicate that slavery, perhaps on the basis of the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act 2010, because a few simple reporting requirements may be more effective than simply extending the powers of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority? Continue reading “Bishop of Ripon and Leeds urges action to end use of slave labour in supply chains”

Votes – Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill

House of Lords Division Lobby
House of Lords Division Lobby

On 8th, 14th, 20th and 22nd January 2014, seven bishops took part in votes on amendments to the Government’s Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, during its Report Stage.

Continue reading “Votes – Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill”

Vote – Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill

House of Lords Division Lobby
House of Lords Division Lobby

On 21st January 2014, four bishops took part in a vote on the Government’s Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, during its Third Reading.

Continue reading “Vote – Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill”

Bishop of Ripon and Leeds speaks in favour of amendment to reduce noise disturbance around Westminster Abbey

Westminster-abbeyOn 20th January 2014, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds spoke in favour of an amendment to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, during the Bill’s Report Stage. The amendment, proposed by Lord Deben and co-sponsored by the Bishop of Newcastle, related to the use of amplified noise equipment in vicinity of the Palace of Westminster, and the Bishop spoke of the impact that such equipment has on worship in Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Church. 

Continue reading “Bishop of Ripon and Leeds speaks in favour of amendment to reduce noise disturbance around Westminster Abbey”

Bishop of Ripon and Leeds calls for flexibility in administration of underoccupancy charge

On 20th January 2014, Baroness Hollis of Heigham asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to revise their underoccupancy charge so that, as in the private rented sector from 2008, it applies only to new tenants.

R_LThe Bishop of Ripon and Leeds asked a supplementary question:

The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, what flexibility is there for housing authorities in the implementation of the underoccupancy charge in circumstances such as when a child dies and the house thereby becomes underoccupied?

Continue reading “Bishop of Ripon and Leeds calls for flexibility in administration of underoccupancy charge”

Bishop of Ripon and Leeds takes part in affordable childcare debate

On 9th January 2014, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds took part in Baroness Massey of Darwen’s debate on affordable childcare.

R_LThe Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, I am very grateful indeed to the noble Baroness, Lady Massey of Darwen, for initiating this debate and for expressing so clearly the issues involved and, indeed still more, for her determined advocacy in this House and elsewhere of the rights and needs of children, especially those children who are most at risk within our society.

Childcare provision in this country has grown like Topsy. As we have heard from a number of examples comparing our own experiences when we were young parents with those of our children as parents now, the need for childcare has become more and more crucial to both parents and children, and as a mainstay of our culture as well of our economy. However, there is such a complex system, which is part universal and part not, with childcare vouchers in their varied forms as an additional complication. Rather strangely, there is also the danger that universal credit will actually make the situation more, rather than less, complex.

Continue reading “Bishop of Ripon and Leeds takes part in affordable childcare debate”