Thursday, 26 March 2015

Lords Spiritual (Women) Act receives Royal Assent

The Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015 received the Royal Assent today.

The Church of England issued a press release welcoming the Royal Assent which includes this:

Under the terms of the Act, the Venerable Rachel Treweek, Archdeacon of Hackney, who is announced today as the next Bishop of Gloucester will become the first female diocesan bishop to join the Bishops’ Benches in the House of Lords.

Archdeacon Rachel will take the place vacated by the Bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens, who retires on July 11. She will be introduced into the House of Lords after the summer recess.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 26 March 2015 at 9:20pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Does this mean that the Bishop of Lincoln and the Bishop of Chichester will have to wait a little longer before they gain entry to the best dining Club in London? I hear that they serve a superior vintage of champagne in there, much better than the sort served up in the House of Commons Dining Room.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 27 March 2015 at 12:07am GMT

Fr David. Technically the answer to your question is 'no; they can book here until the election.

But yes, they need to wait longer before they can go to the peer's dining room whenever they like, pay the normal subsidised prices etc.

Posted by: Leon Clarke on Friday, 27 March 2015 at 10:23am GMT

Father David, the Act means that female diocesan bishops now go to the head of the queue for the House of Lords. So provided that Archdeacon Treweek becomes the Bishop of Gloucester before 11 July she will take the place to be vacated by the Bishop of Leicester. For this purpose I think that the relevant date is that of the confirmation of her election, but I have yet to see any announcement of when this might be.

Posted by: Peter Owen on Friday, 27 March 2015 at 10:25am GMT

A graduate of Wycliffe! How will she help the progress of the 'Conversations on Human sexuality'?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 27 March 2015 at 10:51am GMT

So, does that mean that all future female Diocesan bishops automatically jump the queue, or is there a numerical limit on how many can leap-frog over their male counterparts? I've often sung about Lords-a-leaping and now it seems to have become a reality but only if you are female and Diocesan.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 27 March 2015 at 11:01am GMT

The queue jumping lasts for ten years, as long there is a woman diocesan waiting to go into the House of Lords when a bishop resigns. If there is no woman in the queue, men go in in order. After ten years, there is no queue jumping.

Can her confirmation of election take place before she is consecrated? Confirmation is definitely the point when they take over the responsibilities. They visit the Queen after that but before they are enthroned.
Has the date of her consecration been announced?
If Rachel's formalities haven't been completed by 11 July then the Bishop of Lichfield is retiring a little later in the year.

Posted by: Susan Cooper on Friday, 27 March 2015 at 11:43am GMT

Susan: Confirmation of Election must take place before consecration -- otherwise there is no mandate for consecration.

The order is: formal election (which awaits the Crown's Congé d'élire and the Crown's formal nomination). Then Confirmation of Election, at which point the bishop-designate legally takes up their post. Lack of episcopal orders can then be rectified by the Church. Seniority as a diocesan bishop, and therefore eligibility for a seat in the Lords, dates from Confirmation of Election.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Friday, 27 March 2015 at 11:56am GMT

For somebody not already in episcopal orders, it is always confirmation of election before consecration. In theory it is possible that an election will not be confirmed.

Posted by: Peter Owen on Friday, 27 March 2015 at 11:58am GMT

All these protocols are a bit too much for me to follow but I know Rachel, so I am happy for her. However I want to ask when we will ever be truly inclusive in the Church of England? The women have got what they want, now it's time to push by any means possible for the full affirmation and inclusion of LGBT people in the church of Christ.

Posted by: Davis Mac-Iyalla on Friday, 27 March 2015 at 12:53pm GMT

Davis Mac-Iyalla asks the right question.

The Church of England is trying to draw the line at allowing women bishops, so as to continue to discriminate against LGBT people.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 27 March 2015 at 3:22pm GMT

I presume that the Bishop of Leicester chose his retirement date late enough in the summer that no writ of summons to the Bishop of Lincoln will be issued before Parliament rises. That way the relevant date is when parliament is summoned to meet after the summer recess. This usually doesn't take place until after the party conference season, which means early October. Emergency summer recalls are not unknown but thankfully rare.

Posted by: David Walker on Saturday, 28 March 2015 at 9:41am GMT

The Act refers to the time when the vacancy in the Lords Spiritual arises. Surely that is the date on which the Bishop of Leicester retires regardless of whether or not Parliament is sitting. David, are you saying that is not the case?

Posted by: Peter Owen on Saturday, 28 March 2015 at 2:45pm GMT
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