General Election 2017: Archbishops issue election letter

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On Saturday 6th May 2017 the Archbishops of Canterbury and York published a pastoral letter to the parishes and chaplaincies of the Church of England, about the General Election of 8th June.

The Archbishops urged people to set aside “apathy and cynicism” and to draw new inspiration from the ancient Christian virtues of “love, trust and hope”.

The three-page letter, intended to be shared in churches from 7th May onwards, encouraged voters to remember Britain’s Christian history and heritage as well as a concern for future generations and God’s creation as they make their decisions.

Following divisions of recent years, it called for reconciliation drawing on shared British values based on cohesion, courage and stability.

It upheld marriage, family and households as the building blocks of society which should be “nurtured and supported” as a “blessing”.

At a time when political differences may be felt more intensely than ever, the Archbishops insisted that Christians’ “first obligation” during the election and beyond is to pray for those standing for office and recognise the personal costs and burdens carried by those in political life and by their families.

But Christians also have a duty to play an active part in the process, they added. Continue reading

Archbishop of York asks Government about hospital patient transport waiting times

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york-170117-cOn 4th April 2017, Lord Harries of Pentregarth asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what steps they are taking to reduce waiting times for patients using hospital patient transport.’ The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev. John Sentamu, asked a follow up question.

The Archbishop of York: My Lords, the Minister speaks with such clear diction that we can hear every word he says. He is not producing a drama, but although I have been listening to him carefully, I do not think that he has answered the Question put to him by the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Harries. He asked what steps were being taken,

“to reduce waiting times for patients using hospital patient transport”.

I did not hear the answer. All I heard was that the Minister was willing to have a word with him, but it is not just about the noble and right reverend Lord and his wife. A lot of other people are in the same predicament. We want to know what those steps are. That is the nature of the Question and, if I did not hear the response, I apologise. Continue reading

EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill: Archbishop of York speaks to amendment on Parliamentary Scrutiny

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On Monday 13th March, the House of Lords considered the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, which had been returned to it by the House of Commons during a parliamentary process known as ‘ping pong’. MPs had rejected an amendment passed by the Lords  to ensure Parliamentary scrutiny of any final EU negotiated deal.  The Liberal Democrats tabled a further amendment to disagree with the Commons in its decision. The Archbishop of York, the Rt Hon and Most Rev Dr John Sentamu, spoke in favour of agreeing with the Commons (so opposing the amendment, which was later defeated during a vote).

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The Archbishop of York: I shall not detain noble Lords long, but in response to the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, who always speaks with such clarity and grace, I must say that the problem with the amendment is with subsection (4). If the Prime Minister does not get an agreement, whatever she does she has to have the rule of Parliament. She will bring it to Parliament, but the problem is this, if I understand it right—that triggering Article 50 is an irreversible act. Continue reading

EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill: Archbishop of York speaks to amendment on EU Nationals

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york-170117On Monday 13th March, the House of Lords considered the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, which had been returned to it by the House of Commons during a parliamentary process known as ‘ping pong’. MPs had rejected an amendment passed by the Lords  to make protection of EU/EAA nationals a priority in the Brexit negotiation process.  The Liberal Democrats tabled a further amendment to disagree with the Commons in its decision. The Archbishop of York, the Rt Hon and Most Rev Dr John Sentamu, spoke in favour of agreeing with the Commons (so opposing the amendment, which was later defeated during a vote).


The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I have been listening to what people have said and do not want to repeat anything. However, some of us objected to the amendments not because we lacked sympathy, understanding or compassion. We did it simply because we thought there was a confusion of process with substance. Continue reading

Votes: EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill – that the Bill should not proceed

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On 7th March 2017 the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at Third Reading. A vote was called on a Liberal Democrat motion that the Bill should not pass.Six Lords Spiritual took part in the vote. 
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EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill: Archbishop of York speaks on amendment about Northern Ireland impact

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york-170117-bOn Tuesday 7th March 2017, the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at Report stage and Third Reading. Labour Peer Lord Hain moved Amendment 5, seeking to ensure the Prime Minister give an undertaking to support the right of Northern Irish people to claim Irish citizenship as per the Belfast Agreement in negotiations following the triggering of Article 50. The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu welcomed the probing amendment for raising awareness of the issue.

The Archbishop of York My Lords, it is a real delight to follow the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames. When he was Archbishop of Armagh he invited me endless times to visit Northern Ireland, even during the terrible Troubles. As a result we ended up spending a lot of holidays in that particular part of Ireland. It is a very beautiful, wonderful place. The noble Lords, Lord Hain and Lord Reid, spoke with insight. I would like to follow in their footsteps on this wonderful probing amendment that the noble Lord, Lord Hain, says he is not going to put to a vote. Continue reading

Votes: EU (notification of Withdrawal) Bill – parliamentary approval of Brexit deal

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On 7th March 2017 the House of Lords considered the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at Report. A vote was called on a cross-party amendment to give parliament an approval vote on a negotiated Brexit deal. Ten bishops took part.  Continue reading