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Church News

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams retires from House of Lords

by Cara Bentley

 Rt Rev Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has retired from his position in the House of Lords after 17 years. 

The Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, made the announcement on Wednesday. 

Lord Williams of Oystermouth, as he came to be called, first joined the second chamber in February 2003 sitting with the Lords Spiritual. 

After handing over the top Church of England role to Justin Welby at the end of 2012, he returned as a crossbench life peer in January 2013. 

In his time in parliament, Williams has given speeches on Christian persecution in the Middle East, the impact of gambling on poverty, older people's value in society, his opposition to assisted dying and the impact of immigration detention on children.  

His arguments against licensing a 'supercasino' in Blair's years highlighted the social dangers of encouraging gambling. 

He said in 2007: "While it is undoubtedly true statistically that casino gambling represents a relatively small segment of the overall problem of addictive gambling, none the less it represents a significant part and a social factor whose impact on its immediate environment is not restricted to addictive gambling.

"But how would we react if we were discussing not this particular form of addiction but other forms of addiction? Surely, we should be extremely anxious about monitoring effects, so designing policies that they would be secure in advance, not subjecting them simply to an impact test. We should be very concerned about the resources to be made available for potential victims of this development.

"We recognise in other contexts that addiction is a nursery of crime as well as of poverty. In our discussion, that should be at the forefront of our minds."

The bill failed by three votes and was later dropped. 

This week, Williams has swapped the red benches to campaign on green issues alongside climate change group Extinction Rebellion, saying people of faith should be protesting because they believe that building something better is possible. 


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