Comments: House of Lords Reform Bill published

"Under the terms of the Bill the process of selection of the seven is left to the Church of England." One more thing that can safely be entrusted to the HoB.

Posted by Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer at Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 7:21pm BST

"Unlike other members of a reformed House the Lords Spiritual would be ex-officio and unsalaried."

That sounds about right. This should ensure that Bishops in the House of Lords are there only on special occasions, and not interfering with matters outside of their normal jurisdiction.

This would almost certainly discourage the continuing influence of retired Bishops.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 12:07am BST

How will it be decided how to get the Lords Spiritual down from 26 to 12 - will there be some sort of a cull?

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 5:09am BST

"This should ensure that Bishops in the House of Lords are there only on special occasions, and not interfering with matters outside of their normal jurisdiction" Fr. Ron Smith

I may have misunderstood, but I can see no reason why the Bishops could not continue to turn up whenever and vote upon whatever they please.

If they were to be retained as a ceremonial ornament on special occasions I wouldn't have a problem - as it is, their ability to interfere would be unchanged and their representation, as a proportion of the total membership of the House, would actually be increased by the proposed reforms.

And I'm still laughing at Bishop Turkey of Leicester's self-interested delight at the proposal not including Christmas dinner.

Posted by Laurence C. at Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 10:22am BST

In the light of the recent revelations about the Bishops' attendance and expenses claims, a scandal which seems to have fizzled out, perhaps the HoB could ensure that those bishops, sitting in the Lords under the new arrangements, claim only for their actual expenses and nothing more? Perhaps too their attendance could be limited only to issues where the church has something to say, otherwise questions must arise as to why the attending bishops are neglecting their diocese, something with Trollopian overtones.

Personally, I would evict the bishops all together but at least the new system will see the end of enobling failed archbishops.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 10:36am BST

I'm not sure what Ron Smith is implying. The bishops are not part of the HoL for decoration -- they are there to take part in debates and votes and ensure a spiritual, religious, Christian, Anglican presence in the Chamber. It *is* part of their job to do that, as presently defined, and as defined in this draft Bill too.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 10:49am BST

Re the story about the claims by some bishops for the attendance allowance paid to members of the HoL if they (say they) attend. Is there any evidence that any bishop made any extra money from this? Or was the claimed attendance allowance simply offset against their stipend? There has been no suggestion (one way or the other) about this, but I would have expected the Church Commissioners to have made sure that the attendance allowance was offset. That's no different from what happens to other clergy, e.g. when they either assign statutory fee income to the diocese, or otherwise have to account for it (and then get a reduced stipend).

Anyone know the answer to this?

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 10:53am BST

As Archbishop Tutu said of the attempt by President Botha to reform Aparthied.." Reforming aparthied is like re-arranging tin cans in a wheel barrow."

I want an elected Senate, or nothing at all. New Zealand since 1949 has done very well without a third chamber.

Seven bishops is seven too many. The Church of England no longer 70 per cent of English babies,a nd less than a million persons regularly worship in her churches.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Saturday, 7 July 2012 at 5:33am BST
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