Bishop of Rochester takes five Church of England Measures through House of Lords

On 22nd March 2018 the Bishop of Rochester introduced five Church of England Measures for debate and approval in the House of Lords. The full text of the debate on each Measure is reproduced below and the House gave approval to each. The Measures were:  the Legislative Reform Measure, the Mission and Pastoral etc. (Amendment) Measure, the Pensions (Pre-consolidation) Measure, the Statute Law (Repeals) Measure and the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Care of Churches Measure. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester takes five Church of England Measures through House of Lords”

Bishop of Rochester on importance of Commonwealth in building partnerships

On 22nd March 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from the Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, “That this House takes note of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018.” The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, the Anglican Communion extends significantly beyond the nations of the Commonwealth. Nevertheless, for obvious reasons of history, there is a very substantial Anglican presence in many Commonwealth countries. I am therefore pleased to speak from these Benches in this debate—and I, too, look forward to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Geidt.

Within the Anglican Communion we have a rich network of companion links between dioceses in different parts of the world, whereby most Lords spiritual will have an active engagement with the life of at least one Commonwealth country. The nature of the Commonwealth as a network of autonomous free nations also has some parallel with the life of the communion, wherein each province is autonomous yet links together through what one might call family likeness, and the position of honour granted to the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester on importance of Commonwealth in building partnerships”

Bishop of Rochester asks Government about support for released female offenders

RochesterOn 5th March, Baroness Burt of Solihull asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what assessment they have made of the suitability of bids for replacement services for women prisons made following the closure of HM Prison Holloway.’ The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, asked a follow up question: Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester asks Government about support for released female offenders”

Bishop of Rochester asks Government about housing affordability and homelessness

On 17th & 18th October 2017 the Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, received answers to two written questions on housing affordability and homelessness:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of the private rented sector is affordable to those on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the freeze on Local Housing Allowance on levels of homelessness in England. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester asks Government about housing affordability and homelessness”

Bishop of Rochester stresses importance of family in helping prisoners reform

On 11th October 2017 the House of Lords held a short debate on a motion from Lord Farmer, “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made in implementing the report from the Farmer Review, The Importance of Prisoners’ Family Ties for Reform: Preventing Reoffending and Reducing Intergenerational Crime”. Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, spoke in the debate in his capacity as lead Bishop for Prisons: 

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I, too, welcome this report and I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Farmer, and his team for producing it and for providing the opportunity for this debate today. The report itself, as noble Lords who have read ​it will know, is comprehensive, cogently argued, full of detailed supporting material and, importantly, highlights a number of innovative responses in various places across the prison estate. In summary, a clear case is made for nurturing healthy relationships for those in prison and the connection between that and rehabilitation and reoffending. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester stresses importance of family in helping prisoners reform”

Bishop of Rochester raises effect of prison overcrowding on mental health

On 7th September 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, “That this House takes note of the level of overcrowding in prisons.” The Bishop of Rochester, who is the Church of England’s lead bishop for prisons, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I too am very grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brown, for bringing this debate. I rather wish that the slight slip of the tongue of the noble Lord, Lord McNally, in first referring to the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, as a former Minister for prisons had been true, but there we are.

I recall a visit in my capacity as Bishop to Her Majesty’s Prisons, to one of our prisons and encountering a young man who was visibly distressed and disturbed, sitting against a wall with his hands over his ears, unable to cope with the general noise and hubbub on a prison wing—not least an overcrowded prison wing. I talked to one of the officers on that wing, who was relatively newly recruited and new in post; he was clearly there because of a really positive motivation, wanting to make a difference and with a vocation to work in the Prison Service. However, he was very conscious that because of responsibility to the whole wing, he was unable to give that distressed young prisoner the focused attention that was required. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester raises effect of prison overcrowding on mental health”

Bishop of Rochester supports Homelessness Reduction Bill

On 24th February 2017 the House of Lords considered the Homelessness Reduction Bill, a Private Member’s Bill from Lord Best and Bob Blackman MP. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke in support:

RochesterThe Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I declare my interest as the chair of the organisation Housing Justice and thank the noble Lord, Lord Best, for his sponsorship of this Bill in your Lordships’ House. I also add my thanks to Bob Blackman, the Member for Harrow East, for his initiative in bringing forward the Bill in the other place. Before turning to the specifics of the Bill, I will echo the final points made by the noble Lord about the connection between the wider issues of housing supply and housing finance and the sharper end of homelessness which we see on our streets and in other manifestations. It would be such a tragedy if some of those wider matters were not tackled and frustrated the good intentions of this Bill. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester supports Homelessness Reduction Bill”