On 21st December 2015 the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in favour of amendment 90B during the fourth day of committee stage of the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill. This amendment sought to exempt kinship carers from the impact of the reduced benefit cap.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I rise to express my support for the intention behind the amendment in the name of the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, which makes both sound social and economic sense. If a child can be cared for within the family network, and that is not to be parents or step-parents, that is in most cases preferable for the emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of the child. Churches have watched and participated for centuries in the patterns of such relationships and know that while they can hide dangers, they provide in the main the best setting for the formation of life. Better that than the anxiety, grief and hardship that the imposition of benefit rules not designed for such scenarios imposes, and that a proportion of such children be an economic charge on local authorities and reap the emotional deficit that will all too often occur. Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of Southwark supports amendment to exempt kinship carers from benefit cap reduction”
On 11th November 2015 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Sheikh: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to encourage more bilateral trade between the United Kingdom and African countries.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate, raising the situation of Zimbabwe and the tax treaty between the UK and Senegal.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Sheikh, for a debate so pertinent to the times in which we live. I, too, look forward to the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Oates. Although my knowledge of Africa at large is somewhat limited, I am a regular visitor to Zimbabwe, with my diocese having close links to four of its five Anglican dioceses: those of Central Zimbabwe, Manicaland, Matabeleland and Masvingo. The bishops, clergy and people of those places share a good deal of the reality of their lives and faith with me, and demonstrate remarkable resilience and strong hope in the face of adversity. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark raises Zimbabwe and Senegal during Lords debate on bilateral trade between UK and Africa”
On 9th November 2015 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty’s Government “how many refugees have entered the United Kingdom under the vulnerable persons relocation scheme for Syrian nationals, and what, if any, are the advantages of that scheme as compared to entry under normal immigration regulations.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow-up question on progress towards implementing a private sponsorship scheme for refugees.
On 29th October 2015 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Truscott, to “ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the recent assault by the Syrian armed forces on Aleppo, what is their strategy for tackling the refugee crisis in Syria.”
The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Rev Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I have the honour to be a patron of the charity Embrace the Middle East and visited Syria in May of last year for the enthronement of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch, His Holiness Aphrem II, at Maarat Saidnaya, just outside Damascus.
I thank the noble Lord, Lord Truscott, for giving your Lordships the opportunity to discuss this pressing matter. With over half its population displaced, Syria is now a land of the dispossessed, and we are looking at a topography of dust, rubble and dried blood. This is the land where we read in Acts that the designation Christian was first used but where all minorities are now especially vulnerable in the particular context of the destabilisation of the state. We are witnessing a humanitarian disaster in slow motion, with repercussions which are impacting on many nations including our own. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark speaks on Syrian refugees, the aid challenge and refugee camp conditions”
On 19th October 2015 the Leader of the House of Lords repeated a statement made to the Commons by the Prime Minister on the European Council. The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Rev. Christopher Chessun, followed up with a short statement about the recent letter to the Prime Minister on refugees from 84 bishops of the Church of England .
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, we wish to thank the noble Baroness the Leader of the House for her Statement in which she repeated the Prime Minister’s Statement in another place on the European Council. I gather that in response to a point made about the Bishops’ recent letter, he said that he would like to see the Bishops make a very clear statement on the commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on aid. I speak only as the duty Bishop but Bishops always try to make very clear statements whenever they speak. We thank and endorse and congratulate the Government on maintaining this policy of delivering 0.7%; it is something from which many of the poorest countries in the world benefit. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark speaks on the Prime Minister’s response to the bishops’ letter on refugees”
On 19th October 2015 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Energy Bill at its Report stage. Labour Peer Baroness Worthington moved an amendment to, in her words, “change the fundamental objective of the Oil and Gas Authority: to make it fit for purpose, comprehensive and a little bit closer to what we would expect a regulator representing the Government’s interests in the extraction of oil and gas to be interested in; and to maximise economic return from our resources, not necessarily just the economic recovery of fossil fuels.”
Amendment 11: after clause 3, to insert the new clause Transportation and storage of greenhouse gases.
The House divided: Contents: 251 | Not Contents: 179 | Result: Government Defeat
The Bishops of Salisbury, Southwark and St Albans all voted content. No bishop voted not content.
On 21st September 2015 the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received answers to two written questions on the impact of the separation barrier on prospects for an Israel/Palestine two-state solution:
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