Thinking Anglicans

Archbishops question case for elected House of Lords

Press release from the Church of England: Archbishops question case for elected House of Lords.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York question the rationale for a wholly or mainly elected House of Lords in their submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Government’s Draft Bill and White Paper (the submission can be read on the CofE website).

Whilst welcoming the Draft Bill’s proposals to provide continued places for bishops of the established Church in a partly appointed House, the Archbishops ask that the appointments process also have regard to increasing the presence of leaders of other denominations and faiths.

The Draft Bill and White Paper proposes a House of Lords of 300 members, with either 80% or 100% elected by proportional representation. If the reformed House were to retain an appointed element, there would be places for Church of England bishops, though reduced to 12 from their current 26. Bishops would not be allowed to remain in a 100% elected House under the Government’s plans…

The full submission is available as a PDF file here.

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Iain McLean
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Iain McLean

By what possible right do unelected Anglican bishops claim to rule over non-Anglicans, including non-Anglican Christians? I would like to hear from the former Vicar of Putney, Giles Fraser, in whose church the principles of democracy were first set out by Thomas Rainborough in 1647: “I think it’s clear, that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government”. The Archbishops’ argument against an elected house is thin. They say “We are concerned that the proposals in the Draft Bill may, by leading inevitably to a more assertive… Read more »

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Why should a wholly elected second chamber not work in this country when it works perfectly well in so many other democracies? For the Archbishops to ally themselves with the reactionaries is unfortunately typical and indeed the best reason for removing them from the second chamber altogether.

Laurence
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Laurence

“Archbishops question case for elected House of Lords”

And in other news “Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas”

JCF
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JCF

“The Archbishops of Canterbury and York question the rationale for a wholly or mainly elected House of Lords”

Fog in Channel, Continent Cut Off.

Lionel Deimel
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Ah, I am so proud to be an American.

Andrew
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Andrew

As an American, I am opposed to an elected House of Lords, just as I am opposed to all the other Americanizations (sorry, Americanisations) of our Mother Country. Next thing you know, they will allow sisters to inherit lordships and kingdoms ahead of their younger brothers. If they want to be American states, England and Scotland and Wales and Cornwall and Ireland North (and South) should send in applications. The United Kingdom should not try to do it by abolishing all the things that make it GREAT Britain. An elected House of Lords is called a Senate. A disestablished Church… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

You cannot serve both God and Caesar.

Jonathan
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Jonathan

Yeah, fully elected upper houses are so wonderful, just look at the US Senate. It’s not dysfunctional at all.

Actually, I’ve been wondering why Brits think electing people to the House of Lords will make things better. As far as I can see it will only make things different, different benefits and different problems, and the major benefit I’ve seen folks talk about is making the HoL more “democratic”, which is a relatively dubious benefit.

Malcolm French+
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I’m gobsmacked by how out of touch these prelates are with reality.

Personally, I question the case for the House of Lords at all – especially as the half-baked reforms under Blair have turned it from a mere historical anachronism into a bastardized version of the bastardized Canadian Senate.

JeremyP
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JeremyP

I have some sympathy with the view that different is not necessarily better. There is no LOGICAL reason to have an elected Upper House, it is simply a choice based on a belief that the one person, one vote principle of direct election confers authority and validity. But, as our recent General Elections (indeed all of them since the early 60s I think) show, this principle is strongest if people vote, but when we get governments get elected by as little as 35% of the electorate then you get what is called a democratic deficit. If the populace can’t be… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Bring back the Hereditary Peers – that’s what I say! Debates in the Upper Chamber would be much more informed if the Earl of Grantham was once again allowed to take his seat. That’s what this nation needs – a bit of class.

Father Ron Smith
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“Whilst welcoming the Draft Bill’s proposals to provide continued places for bishops of the established Church in a partly appointed House, the Archbishops ask that the appointments process also have regard to increasing the presence of leaders of other denominations and faiths.”

At least their Graces are admitting the need for a more democratic H. o. L. – pointing out the need for representation by other religious bodies – not only the C. of E.

Robert ian Williams
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Robert ian Williams

New Zealand functions very well without a second chamber, and that is the nation which led the world in social reforms.

The Bishop’s response is just a smoke screen to justify their own putrid position…with less than 2 percent of English people attending their so called national Church, and less than a third of new babies being baptized by it.

Prior Aelred
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I’m just a Yank, so what do I know? But it always seemed to me that the Lords had evolved into a place to dump MPs who had become too incompetent to function in a serious deliberative body & a “Supreme Court” when only the Law Lords would actually show up to hear the case. If ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And as Jonathan points out, the elected Senate in the USA currently exists to prevent government — as one of the characters in Chesterton’s “The Man Who Was Thursday says: The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly;… Read more »

Tom
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Tom

And what is their particular expertise I wonder? Stunts by Sentamu and messing up the Anglican Communion by Williams.