Sunday the 16th of May

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Britain in ‘amazing political mess’ over Brexit, says bishop

Britain is in an “amazing political mess” over Brexit, the Bishop of Portsmouth has said.

Bishop Philip Egan voiced his opinion on Twitter on 16th January, a day after the House of Commons overwhelmingly rejected the withdrawal agreement struck between Prime Minister Theresa May and the European Union. The agreement sought to set out terms of a future relationship with the European Union following Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc, which was approved by a slight majority of Brits in a June 2016 referendum.

The 432-202 vote on the withdrawal agreement on 15th January represented the biggest government defeat in British history and left Mrs May fighting for her political life.

‘It’s an amazing political mess after last night’s vote in the House of Commons,’ Bishop Egan said in a tweet.

‘No-one’s clear on the right way ahead,’ the bishop continued. ‘Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to direct us all, but especially our politicians and leaders, in finding the best plan to take us forward.’

Later, Bishop Egan told Catholic News Service: “This is a time of uncertainty, and I do think we should pray for our politicians and our leaders, that the Lord will guide them in order to find some kind of active plan and also that people will really get behind them in it.”

He said he thought Catholics should pray for the unity of the nation, “because I think it has been quite bruising, this whole debate. When you talk to people it (Brexit) often rouses quite strong feelings and passions.”

He noted that if Britain leaves the European Union, it is still part of Europe.

“As Catholics we are related to all people of our continent and that peace project – that led to the formation of the EU – we are a link to that. We should pray for that peace.”

The government survived a 16th January motion of no confidence introduced by Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, by 325-306.

Picture: An anti-Brexit placard is seen on the ground outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, on 16th January 2019. (Xinhua/Tim Ireland).