Bishop of Southwark asks Government about ‘marked aggression’ by Chinese Government on Taiwan

On Thursday 17th September 2020 Baroness D’Souza asked the Government “what assessment they have made of reports of the presence of the Chinese Air Force in Taiwan’s airspace; and what steps they are taking to support the independence of that country.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark:  My Lords, this country has recognised the Government in Beijing as the legitimate authority in China since January 1950, with a very distinctive status, as the Minister has acknowledged, for Taiwan, which should be discussed peacefully between the authorities in Taipei and those on the mainland. I am glad to hear about the Minister’s lobbying in connection with the World Health Organization. Would he care to comment on this pattern of marked aggression by the current Chinese Government, which has sought to limit options for people at home and abroad and is so damaging? Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about ‘marked aggression’ by Chinese Government on Taiwan”

Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Southwark supports amendment on exempting health and social care workers from the Immigration Health Charge

On 14th September 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, during its third day in Committee.

The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun,  supported amendments to the Bill to make EEA and Swiss nationals coming to the UK to work as a healthcare or social care worker exempt from the Immigration Health Charge

As is usual in Committee, the amendments were not pressed to a vote after debate, though some issues may be returned to again at a later stage. A transcript of the Bishop’s speeches is below. The text of the amendment supported by the Bishop are reproduced underneath. Continue reading “Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Southwark supports amendment on exempting health and social care workers from the Immigration Health Charge”

Bishop of Southwark says failure of Government to honour international treaty means EU and UK nationals need new reassurances

On 8th September 2020 in the House of Lords Government Minister Lord True responded to a question from the Opposition frontbench on the prospects for a Brexit trade deal in October, and the upholding of the Northern Ireland protocol in the withdrawal agreement should a deal not be agreed. The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, given the concerns in the House about any attempt to derogate from an international treaty and the implications for the peace process in Northern Ireland, will the Minister confirm that the Government are aware that any attempt unilaterally to modify the terms of the withdrawal agreement will adversely affect the confidence of EU citizens resident here, and of British citizens resident in EU countries, in the United Kingdom’s commitments under the agreement, if treaty commitments may be set aside?

What can the Minister say to reassure both categories under these circumstances, other than to undertake to honour the treaty in full? Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark says failure of Government to honour international treaty means EU and UK nationals need new reassurances”

Bishop of Southwark presses Government on shortage of council housing and affordable homes

On 8th September 2020 Members of the House of Lords questioned the Government on their targets for new home building. The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a question:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: The Minister will be aware that council housing lists are running at over 1 million, and in my diocese, private rental is a prohibitive drain on all but the most generous of incomes. Will he outline what proportion of the 300,000 new homes will be assigned to social housing? Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark presses Government on shortage of council housing and affordable homes”

Bishop of Southwark asks Government about delays to Windrush compensation scheme

During the Parliamentary recess the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received written answers to questions on the Windrush Compensation Scheme:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government, what assessment they have made of the efficiency of the rate of compensation payments to those affected by the Windrush Scandal; and what targets they have set for compensating the individuals involved.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government why Anthony Bryan is yet to receive full compensation under the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about delays to Windrush compensation scheme”

Bishop of Southwark asks Government about dialogue and peace prospects in Israel and Palestine

On 27th July the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, received written answers to three questions on Israel and Palestine.

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: HL6801 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what diplomatic engagement they have had with the Middle East Quartet since 31 January.

Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about dialogue and peace prospects in Israel and Palestine”

Bishop of Southwark calls for Government action on human rights abuses in China

On 22nd July a statement was given about China. The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark asked a follow up question.

Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the Foreign Secretary is correct about the importance and place of China in the world but China’s human rights record, especially as it concerns Uighurs, has been well known for some time. In the light of the recent US Uighurs human rights act, will Her Majesty’s Government consider similar measures and produce a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps? Given the rising and publicly expressed concern in this country, including by the Board of Deputies, will the Minister now accept that it is high time we took firmer steps to counter Beijing’s harrowing human rights abuses against the Uighurs, and that such abuses should influence negotiations on any future trade deal with China?

Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark calls for Government action on human rights abuses in China”

Bishops of Southwark and Bristol highlight concerns with Government’s Immigration Bill

On 22nd July the Government’s Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill was debated at Sec0nd Reading in the House of Lords. The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, and the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, spoke in the debate, highlighting modern slavery, work eligibility, EU citizens, visas for ministers of religion, tariffs, and children’s welfare.

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the introduction of this Bill in another place is a signal opportunity for Her Majesty’s Government comprehensively to reset the legislative basis for immigration control in this country, to set out a vision for doing so, and to rationalise and streamline the more than 1,000 pages of immigration legislation under which we labour. It is surprising, therefore, that, as other speakers have pointed out, this Bill is so narrow in scope. Continue reading “Bishops of Southwark and Bristol highlight concerns with Government’s Immigration Bill”

Bishop of Southwark asks about sanctions on Commonwealth citizens with right of abode but without documentation

On 30th June the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, received a written answer to a question from Baroness Williams of Trafford on sanctions towards Commonwealth citizens with right of abode but incorrect documentation.

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: HL5625 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the level of oversight of sanctions, including denial of employment, health services, benefits and housing, to Commonwealth Citizens who do not have correct documentation but who have (1) right of abode or (2) right to remain in the UK.

Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks about sanctions on Commonwealth citizens with right of abode but without documentation”

Bishop of Southwark asks Government about handling of Commonwealth citizens long term in the UK without documentation

On 24th June the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark received a written answer to two questions to  Government  on the handling of cases of Commonwealth citizens who have resided a long time in the UK but without documentation .

Lord Bishop of Southwark:

(i) HL5624 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) gaps in national insurance records where the fault does not lie with the individual, and (2) whether Home Office caseworkers should be able to use discretion when dealing with Commonwealth Citizens, including those with right of abode, who have resided for a long time in the UK, but who do not have correct documentation.

 (ii) HL5623 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice and training they have given to Home Office caseworkers about (1) the right of abode in the UK, and (2) the level of discretion that caseworkers can use when dealing with Commonwealth Citizens who have resided for a long time in the UK, but who do not have correct documentation.

Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about handling of Commonwealth citizens long term in the UK without documentation”