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Holy Redundant! BHA launches campaign to remove Bishops from Parliament

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has today launched its campaign to remove reserved seats for the Bishops from the House of Lords. The campaign, ‘Holy Redundant’, follows on from the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill reporting on Monday in support of the Government’s proposals to keep reserved seats for Bishops in a reformed second chamber by a vote of 13-7.

The new BHA website debunks arguments used in support of keeping Bishops in the Lords. It encourages supporters to write to their MPs, copied to Nick Clegg as minister for constitutional reform.

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘The Government’s Draft House of Lords Reform Bill proposes to increase the proportion of the Bishops from 3% of appointed peers to anything between 12% and 17% of appointed peers, depending on the eventual size of a reformed chamber. If the Government’s proposals were enacted, Anglican Bishops would likely outnumber SNP, Plaid Cymru, DUP, SDLP, Sinn Fein and Green Peers combined.

‘Anything from 60% to 74% of the public wants to see reserved places for Bishops go – keeping them is unpopular. It is also unjustified – none of the arguments advanced to keep them hold water and even if you believe that Bishops have something important to add to debate, that is not a sufficient reason why they should have special reserved places rather than come through the same appointments producer as anyone else. The truth is that places for Bishops are an anachronistic feudal hangover, the retention of which is supported not by democratic will or principles of public accountability but by opaque vested interests.’

Notes

For further comment or information contact BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson on 07534 248596 or at andrew@humanism.org.uk.

Visit the Holy Redundant website: http://holyredundant.org.uk/

Read more about the BHA’s work on Bishops in the Lords: http://www.humanism.org.uk/campaigns/constitutional-reform/bishops-in-the-lords

Read the BHA’s briefing on Bishops in the Lords: http://www.humanism.org.uk/_uploads/documents/1bha-briefing-bishops-in-the-lords-2011-final.pdf

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

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