The Bishop of Southwark pays tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II


On 9th September 2022 the House of Lords met to hear tributes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose death had been announced. The Bishop of Southwark paid tribute:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, it was profoundly moving to sit together in this Chamber and listen to His Majesty the King speaking to the nation and Commonwealth of his profound thanks to his mother, Her Majesty the late Queen, and of his commitment to follow her example of selfless service. That resonated deeply.

I wish to share two conversations that I heard while travelling here today. One was on the Underground, when someone looked across and said, “You must be busy at the moment”. Guessing what this was leading up to, I said, “How is the news of the Queen’s death affecting you?” He said, “I’ve just been with my mum, who came to this country 70 years ago; she is now 74. She has only ever known the Queen and she is devastated. I too am full of sorrow”. And on we talked. Then, to get here in good time, I hopped into a black cab. The cab driver, when he knew where I was going, also put two and two together. He dropped me off and said, “That one is on me, Father. We are all sharing in this”. And so it is.

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Bishop of Southwark asks a question regarding a submission to the UN Committee Against Torture

The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answer on 21st July 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the joint submission by Human Rights Watch and Lawyers for Justice on the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to the UN Committee Against Torture at its 74th Session, 12–29 July; and what discussions they have had with the Palestinian Authority as a signatory of the Convention Against Torture. [HL1586]

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Bishop of Southwark asks about plans to relocate Afghan interpreters and security staff

The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answer on 21st July 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to relocate (1) interpreters, (2) security guards, and (3) other locally employed government staff, who are still in Afghanistan, back to the UK; and what is the timescale for that relocation.

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Bishop of Southwark asks about the government’s asylum agreement with Rwanda

The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answers on 26th May 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government:

  • in respect of paragraph 9.1.2 of the Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Rwanda for an asylum partnership arrangement signed in Kigali on 13 April, what equivalent standard applies in Rwanda for the Home Office requirement that interpreters are members of the Institute of Translating and Interpreting, The Chartered Institute of Linguists, or if with a company, then the latter is a member of the Association of Translation Companies.
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Bishop of Southwark asks about government’s asylum policy

The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answers on 24th May 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government when they expect the removal of asylum seekers to Rwanda will begin under the Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda.

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Queen’s Speech: Bishop of Southwark speaks on legislature and the courts

On 12th May the House of Lords Debated the Queen’s speech. The Bishop of Southwark spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the late Sir Winston Churchill said:

“To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.”

I consider that a useful maxim for any Government’s programme, both to build up and, in modern speak, to level up. With that maxim in mind and looking at the Government’s concern in relation to the Human Rights Act, I say that the recently introduced measures on migration and further proposals on public order will inevitably impact adversely on the welcome of refugees, including Ukrainians, and on legitimate protest. I regret that we did not hear of specific action to insulate homes to tackle the energy crisis and measures to alleviate rising poverty, not to mention action on the climate crisis—in particular, an end to new fossil fuels. We must not allow these vital changes to be eclipsed by the Russian military escapade and its consequences in Ukraine.

However, important as that all is, I wish to focus on those elements in the gracious Speech that promise to address the balance between the operation of the courts and the legislature and to do so through a Bill of Rights. I note with appreciation the comments of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, and other noble Lords.

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Bishop of Southwark asks Government about deportations to Jamaica

The following written question was replied to on November 22nd 2021:

Deportation: Jamaica

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken following the remarks by the High Commissioner for Jamaica on 4 November: “from a human rights perspective I am deeply concerned about cases in which persons are being removed having lived in the UK since childhood and have no known relations in Jamaica or familiarity with Jamaica”. [HL3845]

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Bishop of Southwark raises concerns about legality and effect of immigration rule changes

On 27th May 2021 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Immigration Rules and Statements of Changes to them. A Motion to Regret the Statements was moved by Lord Green of Deddington, though not put to a vote. His Motion read:

That this House regrets that the Statements of changes to the Immigration Rules (HC813, HC1043 and HC1248), published respectively on 22 October 2020, 10 December 2020 and 4 March, do not provide clear and comprehensible descriptions of the changes proposed, nor of their likely effect. Special attention drawn by the Secondary Legislation Committee, 33rd and 40th Reports, Session 2019–21.”

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Green of Deddington, for securing this important debate on his Motion to Regret. Last year, several Members of your Lordships’ House cautioned against the major extension of the Government’s capacity to make law with minimal recourse to Parliament in the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act. Today, at the initiative of the noble Lord, Lord Green of Deddington, and not of Her Majesty’s Government, we have 90 minutes to examine three statutory instruments relating to the Immigration Rules, one of which runs to 507 pages. All three were subject to the negative resolution, which involved little or no scrutiny of such important areas of life. Your Lordships’ House last defeated Her Majesty’s Government by praying against a negative resolution 21 years ago. Is the Minister satisfied with the level of scrutiny that these statutory instruments have received? Would she agree with me that it would have been better to publish them first in draft and to seek the views of both Houses in a debate?

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Bishop of Southwark asks about Palestinian elections, violence, and welfare of families in East Jerusalem

26th May 2021

Jerusalem: Violence

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of Jerusalem on 11 May that the violence in Jerusalem “violates the sanctity of the people of Jerusalem and of Jerusalem as the City of Peace”; and what plans they have to call on relevant parties (1) to halt further violence, and (2) to ensure the safety of worshippers. [HL192]

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Bishop of Southwark asks about freedom of religion and expression in Turkey

24th May 2021

The Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the conviction of Sefer (Aho) Bileçen of the Mor Yahqup d-Qarne Monastery on terrorism charges in April, what assessment they have made of the government of Turkey’s policies towards freedom of (1) religion, and (2) cultural expression.

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