Comments: Scrap seats for bishops in the House of Lords?

"There is a curious mistake running through all three of these pieces, namely that the number of seats for bishops is misstated. The correct number is 26."

I think that this is because Parliament publishes a weekly list of members of the House of Lords online. At present it shows 25 bishops.

It does seem odd at first that the bishops have not asserted their right to influence legislation directly. This seems to be fairly routine, though, which I suspect simply demonstrates that even bishops cannot be everywhere they would like to be.

Good suggestion by Frank Field. A related suggestion: legislation to allow the General Synod (or the individual bishops themselves, or some other body) to nominate alternative clerks in holy orders (or lay persons?) to grace with presence the spiritual benches in the House of Peers. Clerks and persons who do not have the separate and very significant responsibilities of serving dioceses in the way bishops do might properly be expected to sit when the House sits.

Posted by Jonathan Bell at Friday, 10 May 2013 at 10:24am BST

Yes, there is a vacant seat at the moment, because the Bishopric of Durham is vacant, and likely to remain so for several months, while the CNC is deliberating on the matter, and then the usual delay before the person selected takes up the post.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 10 May 2013 at 10:53am BST

"A Church of England spokesman said...."

Do we know who these people are? It seems the CofE has no problem making quick statements about policy issues, but for whom exactly do these spokesmen speak? If a spokesperson for, say, the Prime Minister says something, he's clearly trying to say what the PM would want said, but who does a spokesman for the CofE think he's speaking for?

Posted by MarkP at Friday, 10 May 2013 at 2:28pm BST

I'm reminded of the bishop who dreamt that he was making a speech in the House of Lords and woke up only to discover that he actually was!
Would you want to voluntarily give up your seat in the best Dining Club in London?

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 8:03am BST
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