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”
On 14th January 2019 the House of Lords voted to pass a ‘Motion to Regret’ the Government’s EU Withdrawal Agreement, tabled by the Leader of the Opposition Baroness Smith of Basildon. Five bishops voted, and whilst the Archbishop of Canterbury attended and spoke in the debate, he abstained in the vote.
Baroness Smith of Basildon moved ‘That this House, while noting that it is for the House of Commons to determine the matter, considers that a no deal outcome to negotiations under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union must be emphatically rejected, and regrets that withdrawal from the European Union on the terms set out in the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration laid before Parliament would damage the future economic prosperity, internal security and global influence of the United Kingdom.
On 14th January 2019 Baroness Finn tabled an Oral Question ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the potential consequences of adopting an official definition of Islamophobia.’ The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, asked a follow up question:
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, on the overall question of definitions, sometimes it is much easier to do things when we handle them as concepts. In the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, we struggled with the question of racism, particularly when it is found in institutions, so we ended up saying: “The concept that we apply to this case of institutional racism is this”. That is much easier than a definition because a definition can restrict what you want to say. Is it not better to learn from what the Stephen Lawrence inquiry did?
On 12th December 2018 Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty’s Government “what representations they have received on a People’s Vote on Brexit.” The Archbishop of York, Most Revd John Sentamu, asked a follow-up question:
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, would the Minister agree with the African sentiment that when two elephants fight, the grass gets hurt? Is it now time to look for reconciliation as a nation and move forward? Is it now time to stop point-scoring and actually listen to one another with a sense of humility, humbleness and kindness and to have more civil discourse? Otherwise, elephants are fighting and the grass is getting hurt. Continue reading “Archbishop of York calls for reconciliation and a more civil Brexit debate”
On 27th June 2018 the Advocate-General for Scotland, Lord Keen of Elie, repeated a Government answer to an Urgent Question on privately financed prisons that had been asked in the House of Commons earlier that day. The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, asked a follow up question to raise his concern about indebtedness to private companies:
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, I began my ministry as a prison chaplain in a young offender institution, Latchmere House, where every day some 60 to 70 young men arrived. As a chaplain you had to see them, but sometimes you did not succeed in seeing them because the place was overcrowded. In those days, the prisons were put there by Her Majesty and run with taxpayers’ money. Is the Minister confident that this private finance partnership will not create the same indebtedness from which the National Health Service is suffering? We owe a lot of money to private companies for our new hospitals. Are we walking into the same trap? Continue reading “Archbishop of York questions private finance for prisons”
On 27th June 2018 Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked an Oral Question in the House of Lords: ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in pursuit of their anti-terrorism strategy, they will require preaching in mosques and teaching in madrassas in England and Wales to be monitored for hate speech against non-Muslims.’ The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, followed up with a point about collective responsibility for resisting terrorism:
The Archbishop of York: My Lords, does the Minister agree that pursuing anti-terrorism is the business not just of the Government but of all citizens of the United Kingdom? Therefore, if noble Lords do not mind an African saying, when two elephants fight, or make love, the grass gets hurt—what will not work is either side of the House thinking that it is doing a better job than the other. All of us are involved in trying to resist terrorism; it does not matter where it comes from. It is the duty of every citizen to pursue that particular reality. I lived in Uganda at one time when Idi Amin could just pick on anybody; it did not matter who you were or what you believed. What is critical, when we as citizens of the nation do not assist in the whole question of overcoming terrorism, is that it would be a mistake to think that it is purely an Islamic question. Continue reading “Archbishop of York highlights importance of collective responsibility in resisting terrorism”
On 21st March 2018, Peers debated the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill on its ninth day at Committee Stage. The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd John Sentamu, spoke during debate on an amendment relating to the powers of devolved assemblies. It can be read in the wider context of the debate here
The Archbishop of York: The point I was going to make is exactly the same. As I have listened to the debate, it seems to me that the issue is probably what the noble Lord, Lord Hennessy, tried to address. When we leave the EU, the state of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland will still be the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.