On 31st October 2019 Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman answered questions from MPs for the last time as Second Church Estates Commissioner. Tributes were paid to her, and questions were answered on climate change, archbishops, reconciliation, telecommunications, thefts, women in prison, marriage, and digital evangelism. This was also the same day that the Speaker and his Chaplain were due to retire. A full transcript follows:
The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—
Climate Change: Investment in Companies
Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole) (Con): What progress the Church of England has made on holding the companies in which it invests to account on climate change. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): Since this is my last set of oral questions, I would like to record my heartfelt thanks to my small team of staff, and especially my constituency secretary, who has faithfully served me for 20 out of 22 years. We often forget that our staff are on the frontline of much of the abuse that we receive, and I want to record my admiration for their fortitude. I also thank the amazing staff I have had to support me in this role, particularly Simon Stanley at Church House.
In tribute, Mr Speaker, I thank you for your kindness and courtesy—unfailingly so, and especially at times of personal duress. I single out your inspired choice of Speaker’s Chaplain, who has enriched the spiritual life of this place—but more of that later.
The Church of England Pensions Board has tabled a shareholder resolution ahead of the annual general meeting of BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, on 7 November this month. It asks BHP to suspend its membership of trade associations that are not lobbying in line with the climate change agreement. This is just the latest example of the Church Commissioners using their shareholder position to change company policy in line with the climate change agreement.
Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: Tributes, climate change, archbishops, reconciliation, telecommunications, thefts, women in prison, marriage, digital evangelism”
From Hansard: “On 2nd July, 2019, Rt Revd Elizabeth Jane, Lord Bishop of Derby, was introduced and took the oath, supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, and signed an undertaking to abide by the Code of Conduct of the House of Lords.”
She and her two sponsors, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, spoke in the Bishops’ Robing Room shortly before the introduction:
On 1st May 2019 the House of Lords debated a Motion from Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, “That this House takes note of the Financial Guidance and Claims Act 2018 (Naming and Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/383).” The Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, spoke in the debate:
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I want to support the main thrust of the speech from the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, about debt. Julia Unwin, who was chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, did a big research project on why people were going to Wonga. They went to Wonga because it asked no questions; people knew they could get their payday loan. Other lenders asked more questions and were far more intrusive and credit was not readily available. Noble Lords know that my archiepiscopal colleague, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury, said that he intended not only to reform Wonga but to do away with it, and we know what has happened to Wonga.
Continue reading “Archbishop of York on the need for access to low-cost credit”
On 12th March 2019 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a statement from the Attorney General on Brexit negotiations. The Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, asked a follow up question:
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I have had the chance to study the Attorney-General’s comments and I agree with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, that the Attorney-General is right. There will always be a legal risk and he would be wrong not to tell us that it remains. But that is the nature of risk. I am told that in Chinese the word “risk” is made up of two pictures—opportunity and danger. We have to look at the opportunities and then the danger, but not always concentrate on the danger. Continue reading “Archbishop of York commends Brexit deal and Attorney General’s advice”
On 15th January 2019 the House of Lords debated a Motion to Approve the Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018. The Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, spoke during the debate:
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I just wanted to ask the Minister: how much consultation was undertaken with industry before the first regulations were produced? Did industry suggest, rightly, that this would cause trouble for the Pensions Regulator and others because it was bigger than just the United Kingdom? Continue reading “Archbishop of York asks Government about consultation process for new pension regulations”
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”