Monday, November 28, 2011

Let's just not have reserved places for Bishops in the House of Lords - make your voice heard

The link I'm going to direct you to in a minute is a wee bit inaccurate, cos it says "No Bishops in the House of Lords."

That's not strictly speaking what the petition that comes with it is asking for. I certainly have no objection to any Bishop standing for election to the House of Lords and getting there with a bit of legitimacy behind him. I say him, because being a bishop is only open to men at the moment and will be until the very earliest next Summer.

However, the plans for the reform of the House of Lords announced by Nick Clegg earlier this year still have reserved places for Bishops in an 80% elected Chamber. I'd prefer a 100% elected Chamber, to be honest, but what I'm most opposed to is the fact that places will still be reserved for Bishops. I really don't think it's appropriate for any religious organisation to have seats kept by for it in Parliament in this day and age.

That's why I've happily signed this petition, from the Liberal Democrat Humanists and Secularists, which calls on our parliamentarians to resist this part of the proposals. The Petition says:


We, the undersigned, believe that there should be no bishops sitting in the reformed House of Lords, in line with the Liberal Democrat policy that no seats in Parliament should be reserved for any group or individual on the basis of their beliefs, religious or otherwise.
The UK parliament is the only democratic country that gives seats in its legislature to religious representatives as of right and we believe that this is unfair, unequal and undemocratic. The government's current proposals give even more privileges to Church of England Bishops than they currently have, and create an independent and largely unaccountable group of individuals inside the second chamber. We believe this is inappropriate and unacceptable in the legislature of a modern democracy. We urge those dealing with this bill to remove this provision from it at the earliest opportunity.

If you agree, please go and sign here.

2 comments:

tris said...

Totally agree:

It is a vestige of the past, totally inappropriate for a senate today.

I've other problems with the scheme, including a place for 15 years... It's not that different from now.

But the bishops must go. Of course I agree that if they stand for election that is OK, but two jobs? A bit much for older men. And if they are being paid for it, we should expect them to work full time at it.

Kelvin Holdsworth said...

Being a bishop is not possible for ordained Anglican women in England.

Open to women and men in Scotland though and there is currently a vacancy in Edinburgh - shortlist published a couple of weeks.

Agree that non-elected bishops must go from Lords.

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