Today, the Joint Committee on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill issued its report, which can be read in full, starting here.
The report makes the following recommendations:
More from the official summary can be found here.
The section dealing with the Lords Spiritual is Section 17, which can be found here.
The conclusions of that section are:
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
288. The Committee agrees that, in a fully elected House, there should be no reserved places for bishops.
289. The Committee agrees, on a majority, that bishops should continue to retain ex officio seats in the reformed House of Lords.
290. The Committee agrees, on a majority, with the Government’s proposal that the number of reserved seats for bishops be set at 12 in a reformed House.
291. The Committee recommends that the Appointments Commission consider faith as part of the diversity criterion we recommend at paragraph 249.
292. The Committee recommends that the exemption of bishops from the disciplinary provisions be removed, as requested by the Archbishops.
293. The Committee recommends that any approach to the Government by the Church to modify the provision on the named bishops be looked upon favourably.
294. The Committee recommends that Clause 28(4) be left out of the Bill so as to allow greater flexibility in transition arrangements so that any women bishops and the wider pool of diocesan bishops can be eligible for appointment in the second transitional parliament.
The Church of England has issued a press release, Statement on report from Joint Committee on the Government’s Draft House of Lords Reform Bill.
…The Lords Spiritual welcome the Joint Committee’s endorsement of the Government’s proposals for continued places for Church of England bishops. We are grateful too that the Committee has accepted the Archbishops’ suggestions on how the Bill could be changed to allow more flexibility in how Lord Spiritual are chosen to serve, and to bring the bishops in line with other members on the disciplinary and tax measures.
Whilst it is disappointing that more has not been made by the Committee on how to deliver a greater breadth of representation across civil society, the recommendation to increase membership from 300 to 450 is to be welcomed, as this will provide better opportunity for those with outside professionalisms and experiences to bring those interests more to bear in the work of the House. The Church of England does not have a declared view on the merits of a referendum on House of Lords reform, though as both the Joint Committee and the Alternative Report have both recommended one, we trust that the Government will look very seriously at the suggestion…
The alternative report mentioned above can be found here. The Bishop of Leicester is one its authors.