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Bishop: tax credit cuts are "morally indefensible"

The Bishop of Portsmouth Rt Rev Christopher Foster has led criticism of the government's plans to cut tax credits. He was speaking in the House of Lords, who'll vote on the cuts tonight.

  1. Phil Hornby

The Last Word, September 2015

Lively political debate for the south of England. Huw Merriman, the Sussex Conservative MP, Baroness Brinton of Kenardington in Kent for the LibDems, and Peter Kyle, Hove's Labour MP join Phil Hornby.

This month: the Labour leadership - what will a Jeremy Corbyn victory mean for our region? The refugee and migrant crisis - the numbers don't add up; and the House of Lords: how many more peers do we need? Really?

(l-r) Peter Kyle MP, Huw Merriman MP, Lady Brinton Credit: ITV Meridian


Bishop of Portsmouth will be second to join Parliament this week

Bishop Christopher Foster will be the second new ‘Lord Spiritual’ to join the House of Lords this week – the Bishop of Peterborough will be introduced to the House of Lords today. The previous Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Kenneth Stevenson, was in the Lords from 1999 until he retired in 2009.

Though I do not intend this significantly to change my pattern of ministry, it will give me opportunity and obligation to speak from time to time on matters of national, regional and local concern from a Christian perspective. I hope to use my experience of serving the people of this diocese to inform my contributions. In the last couple of weeks, for instance, I have seen the challenges for schools on the Isle of Wight, been involved in conversations about job opportunities in Portsmouth, and at the weekend visited some of those affected by flooding in Hambledon."

– Bishop Christopher Foster

The new member of the House of Lords said the post would also require less public conversation and ministry in Parliament. He said the post was a privilege and a responsibility.

It is for each individual bishop to decide the level of time commitment they are willing and able to give to this role in the House of Lords, and it has been described as a full-time House with part-time membership. I want to reassure you that I intend to remain first and foremost Bishop of Portsmouth. I am grateful for the support of clergy and colleagues, and look forward to continuing to serve the people, congregations and clergy of this diocese as my priority for many years.”

– Bishop Christopher Foster

Bishop of Portsmouth to join Parliament

The Church of England’s Bishop of Portsmouth will become a member of the House of Lords on Thursday, 6th February 2014. The Rt Rev Christopher Foster has promised to use his experience of issues in south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight as he speaks in Parliament.

He will be one of 26 Church of England bishops in the House of Lords. The two Archbishops and Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester are automatic members. The other 21 are those who have been serving the longest as diocesan bishops.

Award for puppy, tied to railway line

A Hampshire dog with a remarkable story is to receive a special award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare at the House of Lords. Anatolian shepherd dog Haatchi suffered horrific injuries as a puppy after being tied to a railway line and hit by a train.

After surviving the amputation of a rear leg and his tail, Haatchi struggled to find a new home. His future looked bleak before he was eventually adopted by Colleen Drummond, her fiance Will Howkins and his seven-year-old son Owen, in Basingstoke.