Oral Answers to Questions

Rachael Maskell Excerpts
Thursday 23rd May 2024

(1 month, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrew Selous Portrait Andrew Selous
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I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend, who has had a long-standing interest in these and other Church matters. He is right in what he says because, with two thirds of special schools at or over capacity, the recent decision to allow faith education providers to run special schools will enable the Church of England to alleviate some of those pressures and give families more choice and opportunity in the New Forest as well as across the whole of England. I would say that our strong ethos of community care makes our schools well suited to providing a nurturing environment for all children with special educational needs.

Rachael Maskell Portrait Rachael Maskell (York Central) (Lab/Co-op)
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10. What steps the Church of England is taking to provide support for people in Gaza.

Andrew Selous Portrait Andrew Selous
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The Church of England calls for the immediate release of the hostages in Gaza and an end to the fighting, which has caused the loss of so many lives and caused so much suffering to the Palestinians. The diocese of Jerusalem and the worldwide Anglican communion continue to support financially the al-Ahli Anglican Hospital in Gaza City, which, as I know from the diocese of Jerusalem synod last week, is still operating with the wonderful medics in it and is still providing care.

Rachael Maskell Portrait Rachael Maskell
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I thank the hon. Member for his answer. Of course, while Parliament is not sitting we know that the horrendous situation in Gaza will continue, and it is really important that we put the focus on those institutions that can make interventions over the next few weeks. I therefore ask him: how is the Church of England using its soft power and leverage to bring peace and justice to the region, particularly to the people of Gaza?

Andrew Selous Portrait Andrew Selous
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I thank the hon. Lady for her very pertinent and important question. She will know that the Archbishop of Canterbury himself went out to the Holy Land just after 7 October. I can tell her that the Bishop of Chelmsford was there very recently and the Bishop of Suffolk is also a frequent visitor. The worldwide Anglican communion, as well as the Church of England, will absolutely continue to play its part in bringing peace and justice to this terrible conflict, which has gone on for far too long.