Week in Westminster 21st-25th September 2020

Parliament met this week in Westminster and online. Prayers were read at the start of each sitting day in the House of Lords by the Bishops of Worcester and Carlisle.

The Bishop of Manchester made his maiden speech, during a debate on the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill.

He also called on Government to improve its messaging when introducing coronavirus regulations.

The Archbishop of Canterbury asked about reconciliation work in Nigeria following recent violence.

The Bishop of St Albans asked questions of Government about the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China. He also sponsored a successful amendment to the Government’s Agriculture Bill, on food and farm standards. Bishops voted on other amendments to the Bill.

The Bishop of Rochester asked about the effect on ordinations of the new COVID-19 rules. He also voiced concern about Government plans to allow evictions to resume following their suspension during the pandemic lockdown.

The Bishop of Carlisle asked a question about COVID-19 bereavement support for young people.

In a debate on new Government plans to limit payouts for higher paid public sector employees the Bishop of Worcester warned that lower paid workers would see their pensions hit as a consequence. He also asked Government a question about socioeconomic diversity in the creative industries.

The Bishop of Leeds asked about UK support for opposition groups in Belarus.

In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered a written question on the Church of England’s communication strategy during the covid-19 outbreak.

Week in Westminster 14th-18th September 2020

Parliament met this week in Westminster and online. Prayers were read at the start of each sitting day in the House of Lords by the Bishops of Southwark, Carlisle, St Albans and Peterborough.

The Bishops of Durham and Southwark supported amendments to the Government’s Immigration Bill, on detention, refugee family reunion, unaccompanied children, and health charges for NHS and social care workers.

The Bishop of St Albans asked questions of Government about the impact of new coronavirus restrictions on Remembrance Sunday events, and about accessible housing for the elderly and those with disabilities.

He also proposed amendments to the Government’s Agriculture Bill, on food security and farm payments. Bishops took part in votes on the Bill.

The Bishop of Southwark asked Government about Chinese policy towards Taiwan.

The Bishop of Carlisle asked a question about tackling health inequalities, and also called on Government to reassure EU and UK citizens about their commitment to the UK’s international treaty obligations.

In the House of Commons MPs the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered written questions from MPs on a wide range of issues: on the church response to COVID-19, Christian persecution, support for cathedrals, wedding guidance, the Sunday congestion charge, ethical investment, St Margaret’s Westminster, South Sudan, church schools, church buildings, lead theft, the Beirut explosion, mental health, and ordinations.

Week in Westminster, 7th-11th September 2020

Parliament met this week in Westminster and online. Prayers were read at the start of each sitting day in the House of Lords by the Bishops of Durham, Rochester, Southwark, and St Albans.

Photo: Simon Stanley

The Bishop of Manchester was introduced as a new Member and took his seat on the Bishops’ Benches. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 7th-11th September 2020”

Week in Westminster, 31st August – 4th September 2020

Parliament returned from recess this week and met on Wednesday and Thursday, with the Bishop of Bristol beginning each sitting day in the House of Lords with prayers.

The Bishop asked Government for assurances about its commitment to the 0.7% overseas aid target, the refugee resettlement scheme, and about the care of those suffering long-term effects from COVID-19.

The Bishop of St Albans asked a question about tree health and biosecurity.

During the parliamentary recess answers were published to written questions, from the Bishop of Southwark on Windrush compensation, the Bishop of Gloucester on the Female Offenders Strategy and from the Bishop of St Albans on forced marriages.

Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 31st August – 4th September 2020”

Week in Westminster, 27th-31st July 2020

Parliament met this week from Monday to Wednesday, with the Bishop of Rochester beginning each sitting day in the House of Lords with prayers.

The Bishop welcomed the Government’s plans for targeted human rights sanctions and stressed the need for consistency in approach, including towards China. He also asked about elderly domestic abuse, help for the disadvantaged in the coronavirus response strategy, and the UK’s commitment to poverty reduction when DfID and the Foreign Office merge.

The Bishop of St Albans asked a question about setting up regional travel corridors.

The Bishop of Bristol received written answers to questions on overseas domestic workers, and seasonal workers, and the Bishop of Southwark received written answers to questions on Israel and Palestine.

Parliament rose for its summer recess and will return in early September. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 27th-31st July 2020”

Week in Westminster, 20th-24th July 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online, with the Bishops of Chichester and Southwark beginning each sitting day in the House of Lords with prayers.

The Bishops of Southwark and Bristol spoke in a debate on the Government’s Immigration Bill, raising issues of modern slavery, EU citizens, the right to work, visa costs and eligibility.  The Bishop of Southwark also asked Government to take action on reports of human rights abuses in China. The Bishop of Chichester asked a question about the impact of student loans on recruitment and retention in public services, and also about support for children who are victims of domestic abuse.

The Bishop of St Albans asked Government about action against rising levels of knife crime. He also asked a question about guidance on singing and compulsory wearing of face masks in places of worship. The Bishop also spoke to amendments on maintaining food security during debates on the Government’s Agriculture Bill, and voted on two amendments to the Government’s Business and Planning Bill.

The Bishop of Winchester asked Government about student eligibility for free college meal vouchers and the Bishop of Durham asked Government about training and apprenticeship funding for disadvantaged students.

The Bishop of Salisbury received written answers to questions on the Russia Report and the Green Home Grants Scheme. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 20th-24th July 2020”

Week in Westminster, 13th-17th July 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online. The Bishop of Birmingham began each sitting day in the House of Lords with prayers. He also asked questions in the Chamber about pay and conditions in UK trade supply chains, and reports of plans to move the Lords to York.

The Archbishop of Canterbury asked Government about preventing use of digital platforms for incitement to hatred and violence. The Bishop of Bristol asked Government about Covid-19, modern slavery and agricultural workers.

The Bishop of Salisbury asked a question about aid for Sudan and South Sudan. The Bishop of Durham asked Government about the impact of the two-child limit on poverty in working families. The Bishop of St Albans supported amendments to the Government’s Agriculture Bill on food security, and also asked Government about small businesses and Brexit transition. The Bishop of Newcastle received a written answer to a question on Coastal Communities funding for the north-east.

Both Houses of Parliament passed motions to approve for Royal Assent the Church of England Channel Islands Measure.

Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 13th-17th July 2020”

Week in Westminster, 6-10 July 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online. The Bishops of Carlisle and St Albans began each sitting day in the Lords with prayers. They also asked questions in the Chamber about social care, reform of Gift Aid rules to help churches and charities struggling financially, human rights in Bahrain, COVID-19 infection rates in abattoirs, and antibiotics in US farmed beef.

Answers were published to written questions from the Bishop of Durham on children’s benefits, the Bishop of St Albans on gambling, and the Bishop of Birmingham on mineral supplies for green industries. Continue reading “Week in Westminster, 6-10 July 2020”

Week in Westminster 29th June – 3rd July 2020

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online. The Bishop of Coventry began each sitting day in the Lords with prayers. He also asked Government questions about involving faith communities in mental health care, data sharing as part of the pandemic response, support for asylum seekers, and religious persecution in China.

The Bishop of St Albans asked questions about singing and music in churches, data on racial bias in the criminal justice system, local council funding, and he voted on an amendment to the Government’s Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill.

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry published its findings. The Bishop of St Albans had served as a key member of the Committee.

The Bishop of London asked Government about mental health support for care workers.

The Bishop of Winchester asked Government about access and retention in higher education institutions of those preparing for key public service roles.

Answers were published to written questions from the Bishop of Rochester on Covid-19 in prisons, the Bishop of Newcastle on the Government’s approach to PPE procurement, the Bishop of Southwark on sanctions towards Commonwealth citizens with right of abode but incorrect documentation, and the Bishop of Salisbury on the publication of the ISC Russia report.

In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered two written questions, on reopening of churches and financial support.

Continue reading “Week in Westminster 29th June – 3rd July 2020”

Week in Westminster 22nd-26th June 2020

 

Parliament met this week, in Westminster and online. The Bishop of Newcastle began each sitting day in the Lords with prayers. She also asked Government questions about post-lockdown rules on hymn singing in churches, and on poverty in coastal areas.

The Bishop of Gloucester asked a question on violence against women and the Domestic Abuse Bill.

The Bishop of St Albans responded to Government statements on the attack in Reading and on the Windrush Compensation Scheme. He also asked Government about freedom of religion in China, child refugees in Greece, and took part in two votes on the Government’s Fisheries Bill.

The Bishop of Southwark asked Government  about Commonwealth citizens who have resided a long time in the UK but without documentation.

In the House of Commons the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered questions from MPs on church building reopening, weddings, housing, public worship, music, online services, family life, church finances and the Transition Pathway Initiative.

Continue reading “Week in Westminster 22nd-26th June 2020”