[Updated 10/6/16: 12 noon]
Following Bishop Paul’s announcement of his decision to declare his support for the PRO-EU earlier this week, he held a press conference at Auckland Castle today (Friday 10th) expanding on his decision.
Here is an interview given to Premier Christian radio.
The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham has added his name to the list of signatures in a letter supporting Britain Staying in the EU.
A pro-EU letter by NE Independent Business Initiative signed by business leaders in the North East has now topped 150 signatures with Bishop Paul being the latest to sign. Bishop Paul added his name to the letter on Monday 6th June.
Bishop Paul joins signatories from around the North East that already include employers like Virgin Money’s Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Mike Matthews from North East Business of the Year Nifco and Arnab Basu of Kromek, recently named the UK’s most innovative company.
In a statement issued by the NE Independent Business Initiative they said: “We are delighted the Bishop of Durham, one of the most senior Church leaders in our country, has joined forces with our initiative representing sole traders, small, medium and large businesses and leaders across the North East, sharing our passion for the huge advantages membership of the EU offers us in all walks of life and our desire for nothing short of the best for our great North East community and country.
“Certainly the UK is stronger and healthier in, and a Brexit would be counter-productive to the huge progress we as a country and region have made since our EU single market entry in 1975, leaving behind the dark 1970s, with power cuts and recession.
“We are a rich, strong economy with low unemployment because of our EU membership not despite it and attract the best skills across the EU to spur us on to further progress. It would be a tragedy and loss to all see this reversed.”
Bishop Paul said: “I understand why many people are struggling to know how to make up their minds. However after seeking to look carefully at a wide range of issues I very much support staying in the EU. The most important question for me to answer is, What kind of nation and community do we want to be? I firmly believe that working together for the betterment of all our communities is best served by being part of a united EU, one where we are able to play our full part.
“Here in the North East of England we have very strong ties with Europe across many sectors including manufacturing, education, farming and our service sector all of which positively benefit from us being part of the EU.
“I am very happy to add my name to the list of signatories.”
Bishop Paul further affirmed his support yesterday (June 7th) during his appearance along with The Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury at the Home Affairs Select Committee. During the meeting Archbishop Justin was pressed by the committees chair Keith Vaz MP on his position on the EU referendum (which he declined to be lead on), but Bishop Paul interjected and said: “I am very happy to go on the record as being pro-remain – which was publicised yesterday in the North East.”
Bishop Paul and Archbishop Justin had accepted an invitation from Keith Vaz MP to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee in relation to the Committee’s ongoing work on immigration and asylum, specifically refugee support and asylum accommodation. The full appearance at the Home Affairs Select Committee can be viewed here.