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MPs urged by BHA to call for removal of Bishops as part of House of Lords reform

Ahead of the first full parliamentary debate, MPs have been urged to speak against the Government’s proposals to retain Church of England bishops in a reformed House of Lords, with the British Humanist Association (BHA) calling the proposals ‘unjust, unpopular and unfair’.

The House of Lords Reform Bill will have its second reading debate in the House of Commons on the 9 and 10 July. This will be the first opportunity for a substantive discussion in the Commons on the specific measures included in the Bill. The Bill as it has been introduced into Parliament would ultimately lead to the retention of 12 bishops of the Church of England in a smaller chamber, down from 26. The Bishops would retain their full speaking and voting rights.

The BHA has briefed the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group ahead of the debate. Pavan Dhaliwal, BHA Head of Public Affairs commented: ‘The idea of keeping reserved places for clerics in our legislature is utterly at odds with the Government’s intention of making politics more “open and accountable”, as argued by the Deputy Prime Minister at the start of the reform process in May last year.

‘We are urging MPs to speak against the shameful measures in the Bill that would entrench the privileged position at the heart of our political system for people of one religion, one denomination and one gender. It is also vital that members and supporters – and the many people who have a religious belief but support a secular state – contact their representatives to raise their concerns.’

Notes

For further comment or information, please contact Pavan Dhaliwal at pavan@humanism.org.uk or on 07738435059.

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

Read the BHA briefing sent to MPs for the Second Reading: http://www.humanism.org.uk/_uploads/documents/bha-briefing-house-of-lords-reform-bill-commons-second-reading.pdf

Read the BHA’s 2011 report, Religious Representatives in the House of Lords: http://www.humanism.org.uk/_uploads/documents/1bha-briefing-bishops-in-the-lords-2011-final.pdf

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

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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