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UK news in brief

24 November 2017


Achievement: this year’s graduates of the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship, which bestows a Foundation degree (Arts) in Personal and Professional Development (Stonemasonry), celebrate at Gloucester Cathedral, last week

Achievement: this year’s graduates of the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship, which bestows a Foundation degree (Arts) in Personal and Profes...


George Bell report ‘should not be expected for months’

THE Carlile report reviewing the approach taken over allegations against the late Bishop George Bell (News, 25 November, 2016) is unlikely to be published for “some months”, a spokesperson for the Church’s National Safeguarding Team said on Monday. The report had been received in October, and an “intensive process” was under way, including accuracy checks and the addressing of issues about the identification of the woman who alleged abuse by the Bishop, “Carol”. The team was “responding with feedback from those who contributed”, and a final version would be presented to the National Safeguarding Steering Group before publication. The terms of reference for the review state that the Church “will determine whether the full report can be sufficiently redacted or otherwise anonymised to enable its publication without risking disclosure of the complainant’s identity”, but the Carlile review’s dedicated website states: “The report will first be presented to the Church of England, National Safeguarding Steering Group. It will then be published in full.”


Archbishop Welby condemns gender-based violence

GENDER-BASED violence is “one of the greatest injustices in the world today”, the Archbishop of Canterbury had said, in the run-up to the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which begins on Friday. “No society is immune to it, and all too often, women and girls, against whom acts of violence or abuse have been committed, are unable to speak out because of stigma placed on them.” The Mothers’ Union, which is participating in the campaign, is seeking to reduce the stigma attached to the problem, and the Archbishop joined their call “break the power of silence”. mothersunion.org/16-days


PM is inspired by Inter Faith Week

THE Prime Minister has praised Inter Faith Week, which ended on Sunday, as “an inspiring effort across all neighbourhoods and faiths across the United Kingdom, in building understanding, tolerance, and a sense of community”. More activities took place than in any previous year since the week was launched, in 2009, the Inter Faith Network reports.


Tax avoidance wrong, public tell Christian Aid

ALMOST nine out of ten (89 per cent) respondents to a Christian Aid survey agreed that tax avoidance by large companies was “morally wrong even if it’s legal”, the charity reported this week. The poll of 2051 adults, conducted by ComRes this month, found that 78 agreed that it was important to them that large companies paid their fair share of tax in developing countries; 75 per cent agreed that the next UK government should legislate to “discourage UK companies from avoiding tax in these countries” (News and Comment, 17 November).


Vicar of Walsingham charged

THE Vicar of Walsingham, Houghton and Barsham, the Revd Andrew Mitcham, appeared at King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court last week, charged with several counts of possession of child pornography. The offences allegedly took place between September 2016 and July this year. He was immediately suspended by the diocese of Norwich after his arrest. He will appear at Norwich Crown Court on 14 December.


Yorkshire convictions upheld

DAVID FLETCHER, a former Priest-in-Charge of the Waggoners and Woldsburn Benefices, in Yorkshire, who was imprisoned for sexually abusing a boy 30 years ago (News, 3 March), has been told that his conviction will not be overturned, after his lawyer argued that the guilty verdicts were inconsistent with his acquittal on six other counts. Mr Fletcher was released in October, after his three-year sentence was reduced to one by the Court of Appeal.

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