Opinion Former Article

BHA: 'No legitimate reason to keep Bishops in the Lords'

There is no legitimate reason to keep automatic places for Bishops in the House of Lords, and the government’s proposals to do so undermine equality and represent a religious privilege insupportable in today’s society, the British Humanist Association (BHA) will tell the Joint Committee taking evidence on the draft House of Lords Reform Bill.

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson is to give evidence in a session following evidence from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who supports the retention of Bishops.

Commenting on the forthcoming evidence session, Mr Copson said, ‘Our case is clear – there should be no reserved places for Bishops or any other religious representatives in a reformed House of Lords.’

‘The government’s proposals on Bishops in the House of Lords are profoundly unjust, will create a new, independent and unaccountable bloc for Church of England in Parliament, and despite wanting to keep its privileged position through keeping places as of right in the chamber for its Bishops, even the Church thinks some of the proposed measures go too far.’


For further comment or information, contact Andrew Copson on andrew@humanism.org.uk or 07534 258596.

The BHA will give evidence to the Joint Committee on the draft House of Lords Reform Bill in a session from 18.45 on Monday 28 November, in the Moses Room, House of Lords.

The Joint Committee was formed to examine the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill published in May 2011 and consists of 26 members of both Houses of Parliament. In October 2011, the BHA submitted written evidence to the Committee opposing the government’s proposals to retain automatic places for 12 Church of England Bishops in the reformed chamber.

Read the BHA’s written submission to the Joint Committee http://www.humanism.org.uk/_uploads/documents/submission-to-the-joint-committee-on-the-draft-house-of-lords-reform-bill-bha-final.pdf

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

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