…proposes a House of Lords consisting of an 80% elected and 20% appointed membership, with 12 Lords Spiritual as supernumerary members. The elected members would serve for single non-renewable terms of 15 years, on a semi-open list system of election and represent regional areas along the same lines currently used for elections to the European Parliament. Appointed members would also serve for non-renewable 15 year terms and be chosen by an Appointments Commission.
The Bill makes provision for 12 Lords Spiritual to continue to serve in a fully reformed House, consisting of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester and seven other diocesan bishops of the Church of England. Under the terms of the Bill the process of selection of the seven is left to the Church of England. The number of bishops would be reduced from 26 to 12 across a 10-year transitional period beginning with the first elections to the House in 2015. Unlike other members of a reformed House the Lords Spiritual would be ex-officio and unsalaried.
The Government has accepted the suggestion of the Archbishops, endorsed by the Joint Committee, that the Lords Spiritual should be subject to the same tax and disciplinary measures as other members of a reformed House.
The Bishop of Leicester, Convenor of the Lords Spiritual, issued this statement:
“We on these benches recognise the need for some reform of this House and we welcome the opportunity that this Bill will give for thorough debate about the future of Parliament.”
“In particular we are pleased to see that the Government endorses the recommendation of the Joint Committee on the continuing contribution of the Lords Spiritual to a reformed House…”
Stating on behalf of the Bishops’ Benches that “we have always said that we will assess the proposals on the basis of what makes for the good governance of Britain” the Bishop raised two issues of concern in relation to the proposals in the Government’s Bill…
See the press release for the rest of his remarks.