Bishop of St Albans asks Government about reassurances to minority communities following Reading attack

On 23rd June 20202 the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, asked a question following a statement from the Government on the terrorist attacks in Reading on 20th June.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: The Minister has referred to the extra £90 million for counterterrorism. Is this ring-fenced and will it be continued in future years? Secondly, what reassurances and protections are being given to minority communities, which will be feeling very vulnerable at this point?

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about reassurances to minority communities following Reading attack”

Bishop of Gloucester responds to Government plans to end early release for terrorist offenders

On 24th February 2020 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill at its Second Reading (and remaining stages). The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I am grateful to those contributing to this subject today who have far greater knowledge than I do, and I will aim to keep my comments brief.

Certainly, if a society that relies on government to deliver justice has lost confidence in the current system, it is right that we try to address those fears, and we must look at the bigger picture. I share concerns already expressed about the manner in which this legislation has been brought before the House, and particularly the very short time that we have to consider it.

If the justice system is to serve the common good and the flourishing of people and place, there needs to be an emphasis on a radical mutual responsibility, in which we are all truly responsible for one another. Offenders must be expected to take responsibility for their actions. This should be about not only taking the consequences and punishments imposed by a criminal justice system but having the opportunity to take responsibility for past actions, and the possibility of taking responsibility to restore their relationship with society.

Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester responds to Government plans to end early release for terrorist offenders”

Bishop of Southwark asks questions about aim and intent of new counterterrorism laws

On 3rd February 2020 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Harris of Haringey, “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to improve the safety and security of public venues, and whether they intend to introduce a Protect duty under the CONTEST strategy for countering terrorism.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I too am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, for securing this debate and for making the points he made.

I live but a few minutes’ walk from the location of yesterday’s incident in Streatham, and my prayers go to those affected by yet another attack born of hate and callous disregard of God’s image reflected in the other. I too pay tribute to the rapid response of our emergency services, not least the police, who were tracking the individual, and to the ambulance service. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks questions about aim and intent of new counterterrorism laws”

Bishop of Southwark hails “remarkable and resilient” community response to Streatham attack

On 3rd February 2020 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a statement made in the House of Commons by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, on the terror attack in Streatham the previous afternoon. The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, responded to the statement:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I have nothing but admiration for the response of the emergency services and the police in this incident, in the recent one at Fishmongers’ Hall, and in the one two and a half years ago at London Bridge, very near my cathedral. It is incumbent on me to try to correct what might be a mishearing of an earlier contribution. The response of the community in each of these cases has been remarkable and resilient. A major part of that response has come from the Muslim community, which has shown its conviction and commitment to peace-desiring and law-abiding ways of living and supporting the wider nation. The Statement said nothing about this because it did not have to, but I feel incumbent as a Bishop to do so. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark hails “remarkable and resilient” community response to Streatham attack”

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about children in Iraq, terrorism in Sri Lanka and religious freedom in Pakistan

On the 23 May 2019 the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received three written answers from Government to questions he had asked on (i) children in Iraq, (ii) terrorism in Sri Lanka and (iii) religious freedom in Pakistan.
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The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that some 45,000 children in Iraqi displacement camps are without civil ID documentation; and what representations they intend to make to the government of Iraq to ensure that those children are not excluded from Iraqi citizenship and society in the future. HL15663 Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about children in Iraq, terrorism in Sri Lanka and religious freedom in Pakistan”

Church Commissioner Questions: Persecuted Christians Review, Sri Lanka attacks, Cathedral Fire Safety

On 9th May 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions from MPs on the Bishop of Truro’s review into persecuted Christians overseas, the attacks on Christian worshipers in Sri Lanka, and fire safety in cathedrals. The exchanges follow:CCQs 9519 Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: Persecuted Christians Review, Sri Lanka attacks, Cathedral Fire Safety”

Bishop of Leeds responds to Government statement on Sri Lanka

On 24th April 2019 Baroness Goldie repeated a Statement  by the Foreign Secretary on Sri Lanka. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, responded to the statement: 

18.12.05 Leeds Brexit deal debateThe Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, my diocese, the diocese of Leeds, has had a link with Sri Lanka for nearly 40 years and I am in daily contact with the church out there. I urge the Minister and the Foreign Office to take seriously the difference between ethnic and religious strife, because we cannot always draw a straight line from people being of different religious practice or conviction to particular actions. The civil war, for example, was much more complex than is sometimes represented outside Sri Lanka. What has happened in the last few days is very different; it is international. We need to understand more about the impact on the Muslim community in Sri Lanka, as it has not been a pleasant experience for them. It is not quite as simple as we sometimes think, and I would urge caution in the way that we represent the current issue. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds responds to Government statement on Sri Lanka”

Archbishop of York probes Government about new rules on visitors to detainees who are terminally ill

On 15th January 2019 the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill was debated at its Third Reading in the House of Lords. The Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, spoke during debate on a Government amendment to Clause 4 of the Bill, concerning whether a person might enter a ‘designated area’ to visit a detained relative who is  terminally ill.

The Archbishop of York: My Lords, will the Minister contemplate another example? Megrahi was sent from a Scottish jail back to Libya and expected to die within a short period, but he lived for longer than six months. What if someone was here and the same thing applied? President Pinochet was allowed to go back. Everybody expected him to die but he walked off the plane and lived for quite some time. So the six-month period could become a problem. One needs to find a way of describing it in another way. People have died within six months but some have lived longer. Can the noble Earl help us with that quandary? Continue reading “Archbishop of York probes Government about new rules on visitors to detainees who are terminally ill”

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill – Bishop of Newcastle raises freedom of religion and expression

On Tuesday 9th October 2018 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill. The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, spoke in the debate to seek assurances on freedom of thought and expression: 

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, first I too want to say how much I am looking forward to the maiden speeches of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Garnier, and the noble Lord, Lord Tyrie. The noble ​Lord, Lord Tyrie, will be well acquainted with these Benches, having worked closely with my most reverend brother the Archbishop of Canterbury on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, which the noble Lord so ably chaired.

In opening this debate, the Minister spoke powerfully and movingly about the terrible consequences of terror, the effect on people’s lives, the suffering that is lifelong for people. It is in this context that I broadly welcome the Bill. I certainly recognise the difficulty of drafting and steering this kind of legislation. It is to walk something of a tightrope, as described by the noble Lord, Lord Marks. The current national security situation is complex, as is seen so sharply in our news headlines this morning. At Second Reading, I would like us to stay alert to that tightrope we walk, to proportionality and, perhaps especially, to the danger of unintended consequences. Continue reading “Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill – Bishop of Newcastle raises freedom of religion and expression”

Bishop of Durham says support for community in Salisbury and Amesbury as important as support for local economy

durham-230117On 9th July 2018 Baroness Williams of Trafford repeated a Statement updating the House on the Amesbury incident which the Home Secretary had previously made in the Commons. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, responded to the Statement:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, as it happens, over the weekend I was talking to a member of the clergy who is a resident of Salisbury. I simply asked her how it feels, and she said, “Grim and deeply disturbing”, because of the second occurrence. She said that people were just beginning to come out of this and now they do not know how to react. She was talking about community life, businesses and so on. In exploring support for businesses, does the Minister understand that this feels like a double hit for people in Salisbury, and that community encouragement and up-building is needed, not simply economic support? I ask this largely in the name of my noble friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Salisbury. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham says support for community in Salisbury and Amesbury as important as support for local economy”