Thinking Anglicans

House of Commons to discuss women bishops again

This Wednesday there is a debate in the House of Commons scheduled, as shown here.

The debate is likely to start around 4.00 pm or 4.30 pm (depending on the other parliamentary business listed). It can be watched live on BBC Parliament or on Parliament TV.

This will be a backbench debate, something introduced by the current Government as a way for backbench MPs to have more of a voice in the House. The business is chosen by the Backbench Business Committee. In this particular case it will be a general debate sponsored by Ben Bradshaw MP and with no substantive motion before the House. Mr Bradshaw argued his case for holding the debate before the Committee on 27 November, and the uncorrected transcript of his representations can be found here.

A transcript of the earlier session of Questions to the Second Church Estates Commissioner can be found here.

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Father DavidPerry ButlerMark BennetSimon SarmientoRosie Bates Recent comment authors
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Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

Excellent. Parliament in both Houses take such care over so many issues, whether ‘popular’ or not.

We are very fortunate in the UK.

Father David
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Father David

When was the last time a Backbencher’s Bill became Law? Was it David Steel’s Abortion Bill way back in the sixties? I think it may well have been.

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

Father David Wikipedia suggests, in addition to the one you cite “Other private member’s bills to have been enacted include the Adoption Act 1964, the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965, the Charter Trustees Act 1986, the Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996, the Knives Act 1997, the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1997, the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004, the Sustainable Communities Act 2006.” And Parliament had a significant say in the Churchwardens Measure and the legislation for ordaining women as priests without having to pass separate legislation. But the… Read more »

David Lamming
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David Lamming

While it is difficult for a back bench MP or peer successfully to promote a change in the law, it is not quite as rare as Father David suggests. More recent private members’ bills that have become law are the following: Charter Trustee Act 1986; Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996; Knives Act 1997; British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1997; Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003; Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 (promoted in response to the 2003 Morecambe Bay cockle pickers tragedy); and the Sustainable Communities Act 2006. Currently, the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill, introduced by Richard Ottaway MP… Read more »

Feria
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Feria

Father David: ‘When was the last time a Backbencher’s Bill became Law?’

According to Wikipedia, the Sustainable Communities Act 2006.

Peter Owen
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Father David

Typically a small number of private member’s bills become law each year. The UK Parliament website has this factsheet listing them all from 1945 to 2010.

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-information-office/l03.pdf

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

I don’t know the answer to the question on PMB’s, but I know it was later than that suggested.

Some time in the 1990’s I was heavily involved with the passage of Gyles Brandreth’s Marriage Bill…….

Rosie Bates
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Rosie Bates

Brilliant Ben Bishop’s Backbencher Braves Bullies.

Father David
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Father David

I stand corrected and thank those who have looked further into this matter and unearthed quite a numbers of cases where Backbench M.Ps, have indeed made a difference. However, it does not look as though Mr. Ben Bradshaw’s name will be added to those Backbenchers whose Private Members Bills have brought about a change in the Law as there will be no vote – merely a debate. In his own words he has said:- “I wasn’t looking for a vote and I do not think that anyone would be interested in a vote. It was about airing these issues.” I… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
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I’m not sure why anybody ever thought Ben Bradshaw was introducing legislation, but on the other hand Frank Field certainly is. See here
http://www.frankfield.co.uk/latest-news/articles/news.aspx?p=102484
and the second reading is scheduled for 18 January, see here
http://services.parliament.uk/calendar/#!/calendar/Commons/MainChamber/2013/1/18/events.html

Father David
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Father David

Is that the same Frank Field who was Minister for Welfare Reform from 2nd May 1997 to 24th October 1998? Not the longest ministerial career on record! During his brief ministerial tenure he stated that he was going to “think the unthinkable” in terms of social security reform. In respose Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote “the problem was not so much that his thoughts were unthinkable as unfathomable”! Now the long serving M.P. for Birkenhead is to have a go at amending the Equality Act and try and force the Established Church into the 21st century in “getting with the… Read more »

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

Dear Father David – do I take it that you dissociate yourself from Frank Field and All His Works – including, incidentally, his part on the Ecclesiastical Committee which did so much to bring us the Act of Synod (and also revised Church Commissioners). Maybe the MP for Birkenhead has some reason for changing his approach to the issue over the years – maybe it is the divisive Act of Synod which has damaged the mission of the CofE over the last 20 years or so? You could usefully nuance your criticism – else you risk shooting yourself in the… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

I think that even Mark Bennet would agree that the major change in the Church of England during the last 20 years is not the introduction of the splendid Act of Synod but the introduction of women into the Anglican priesthood which has had a far greater effect upon the Established Church – its priestly ministry now being made up of one third female to two-thirds male – in a relatively short period of time. I also note that in the news of the Census figures released today the decline in the last ten years of those professing a Christian… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Well its nice to know Father David you plan to go down with the sinking ship raher than take to the ecclesiastical life boats the Vatican has sent.

Father David
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Father David

Thinking of the veteran Labour M.P. – Frank Field – did my ears deceive me or did he actually refer to the next Archbishop of Canterbury as “A Holy Thug” in the parliamentary debate today on Women Bishops? It was significant how many Members expressed caution with regard to Parliament interfering in Church affairs. Wasn’t Geoffrey Cox M.P. magnificent speaking up so elequently on behalf of the beleaguered minority?

Father David
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Father David

In response to Perry’s comment – a friend who crossed the Tiber some years ago has written the following:-
“The CofE is 95% below the water now, only the mast and the crow’s nest are showing, with ER II in the latter, not waving but drowning.”