Thinking Anglicans

Peerage for Sentamu

We reported in October on the coverage in the press asking why the recently retired Archbishop of York had not been given a peerage. The Prime Minister’s office has today released a list of Political Peerages 2020, and Dr Sentamu is included in the Crossbench section of the list. Despite the title of the press release, the crossbench nominations are for public service.

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God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
28 days ago

In passing, I note the PM rejecting ‘advice’ but only in a very specific and limited way.
Hoping that the former ABY, the to-be Baron of wherever, will provide helpful contributions to the government of this benighted land from whatever bench he occupies as a Lord Temporal, a position vacated by the Lord Wiliams of Oystermouth, if I understand correctly. Does anyone know if the Lord Carey of Clifton is making contributions?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
28 days ago

Lord Carey’s contributions to House of Lords debates on a wide range of topics are listed from 2000 to the present time on the website theyworkforyou.com. There were two in the early part of this year. He is now 85.

Philip Hobday
Philip Hobday
28 days ago

There’s no connection between Lord Williams’s standing down from the House of Lords and Dr Sentamu’s nomination – there aren’t a limited number of places. It’s been customary since at least the end of the Second World War for Archbishops of Canterbury and York to receive life peerages as Lords Temporal on retirement. In the same way a number of other public office-holders (Cabinet Secretaries; Private Secretaries to the Sovereign; Chiefs of the Defence Staff) are usually nominated for life peerages on retirement.

Simon Kershaw
Admin
28 days ago
Reply to  Philip Hobday

The ability of the Crown (on the advice of the Prime Minister) to create peerages for life, and for those peers to take their seats in the House of Lords (an important distinction) was enacted by the Life Peerages Act 1958, so it is only since 1958 that retiring archbishops have received life peerages. One archbishop retired between 1945 and 1958, Cyril Garbett from York in 1955. According to Wikipedia he retired in February 1955 and died on 31 December of the same year, before his hereditary barony had been created. Before that, Randall Davidson (in 1928) and Cosmo Lang… Read more »

Philip Hobday
Philip Hobday
27 days ago
Reply to  Simon Kershaw

A careless use of the adjective “life”, for which I can only apologise!

Froghole
Froghole
27 days ago
Reply to  Simon Kershaw

Many thanks. A slight, if petty, caveat (apologies): William Maclagan of York did retire in 1908 and there was no presumption that he would receive a peerage. Davidson owed his barony mainly to the intercession of the then lord privy seal, the 4th marquess of Salisbury, and also Salisbury’s brother, Lord Hugh ‘Linky’ Cecil, who had felt that a barony was too low a degree. That he had also been Victoria’s favourite clergyman in her declining years (the chief reason for his preferment to Rochester) must also have helped. It is possible that the initial commentator might have had the… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin
26 days ago
Reply to  Froghole

Thanks, I should have remembered Abp Maclagan. When I was an undergraduate 40 years ago, I knew, slightly, his grandson, Michael Maclagan, who was senior tutor at Trinity College. A large painting of his grandfather adorned his rooms in Trinity quad – enabling me to make the connection between the two Maclagans.

Froghole
Froghole
26 days ago
Reply to  Simon Kershaw

Many thanks! Lucky you to be taught by Michael Maclagan: I have his history of Trinity (1955) (since superseded by that edited by Clare Hopkins, 2005) and a very handy and measured biography of the first viceroy, ‘Clemency’ Canning (1962), an important figure and one whose temperament would be sympathetic to any don and churchman, though the ancient historian Thomas Rice Holmes remarked in his history of the Mutiny (1898): “But with all his high sense of responsibility [Canning] had one grave defect as a ruler. His conscientiousness was apt to degenerate into scrupulousness. He never could bring himself to… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
28 days ago

Rowan Williams sat in the House of Lords under the title Lord Williams of Oystermouth between 8 January 2013 and 31 August 2020, when he resigned his membership. Lord Carey of Clifton is still active in the House of Lords. He voted in a division as recently as 15 December 2020.

Last edited 28 days ago by Anthony Archer
David Lamming
David Lamming
26 days ago
Reply to  Anthony Archer

Lord Carey was also outspoken in the debate in the HL on 30 June 2016 (two days after the C of E had announced that there was to be an independent review into the handling of the claim by ‘Carol’ alleging historical sex abuse by the late Bishop George Bell (though the name of the independent reviewer, Lord Carlile CBE QC, and his terms of reference, were not announced for another 5 months.) The debate was on what might have appeared from the Order Paper to be on a rather anodyne motion by Lord Lexden “That this House takes note… Read more »

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
28 days ago

On the mention of Bishop Lord Williams, I see from the Magdalen Hall website, that Bishop Rowan went into full retirement at the end of October having reached 70 and has now retired from academic life and retired to Abergavenny in South Wales . Though for someone like Bishop Rowan with his international reputation as a Theologian, Retirement could be something of a euphemism, being in great demand as he is, and I have no doubts that many deep and thoughtful books will still flow from his Pen. Jonathan.

Simon Kershaw
Admin
28 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal

Magdalene College (Cambridge) presumably. Magdalen Hall was a hall at Oxford that eventually became Hertford College.

David Lamming
David Lamming
28 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal

Most recently, on 10 December 2020, Rowan Williams gave a public lecture (hosted by the Ecclesiastical Law Society in association with Villanova University, Notre Dame University, and the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral), “Saving our Order: Thomas Becket, Henry II and the Law of Church and State.” The lecture, delivered online, was to mark the 850th anniversary of the murder of Saint Thomas of Canterbury. The latest ELS Newsletter reports that “Over a thousand people from across the globe attended virtually.” The lecture is available to view on a YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m–AqC0Whc4. A note on the ELS website indicates… Read more »

Such a sceptic
Such a sceptic
28 days ago

I personally look forward to the day when the HofLs is abolished and replaced with an elected chamber. There is no justification for peerages in this day. Bad enough that the CofE still has Lords Spiritual and is the only faith group that automatically has a presence. 2020 when the UK is a multi faith country with Christians a minority group and CofE a minority within that minority. Abolish the whole disgraceful house!

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
27 days ago
Reply to  Such a sceptic

Leaving aside for the moment the undoubted merits of many of the current members of the House of Lords, and accepting that there are others who should not be there, on the subject of the Lords Spiritual, I take it that you are not an Anglican, or is your specific objection that they are limited to the C of E?

David Emmott
David Emmott
27 days ago
Reply to  Such a sceptic

I wholeheartedly agree. I’m amazed that this is the first comment to this effect on a supposedly ‘thinking’ Anglicans website.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
27 days ago
Reply to  David Emmott

I’m afraid you haven’t been reading earlier threads. This subject has been hotly debated on TA, but no one making those points demonstrated any experience of watching House of Lords debates! It was all rhetoric! I’m puzzled that Anglicans are opposed to the C of E being represented in the HL, or is this just hostility to the concept of that body.

David Emmott
David Emmott
26 days ago

As a democratic socialist (which seems to me the logical outworking of being a Christian) I don’t think the ‘House of Lords’ should exist, and certainly not if it exists mainly because of heredity or cronyism. As we celebrate the birth of *the* Lord of Lords, who so transformed the concept of lordship that he was born in a stable (ok, allegedly, but the symbolism is real), it doesn’t seem appropriate for anyone, let alone bishops, to be clamouring for places at the top table. Certainly we know Jesus’s reaction to those who did.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
25 days ago
Reply to  David Emmott

There are very few hereditary peers in the House of Lords, and they have to justify their being there. As an example, Viscount Attlee speaks as an expert on military matters. I conceded that there is some deadwood, but regularly watching proceedings in both the HL and the House of Commons demonstrates the far higher quality of debate in the former. As to the C of E ‘monopoly’ of Lords Spiritual, Peter Kettle and Anthony Archer have rightly pointed out the presence of religious leaders of other denominations, and there are members of other faiths, Islam and Sikh included. Critics… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
27 days ago
Reply to  Such a sceptic

Thank you for this. The only justification for the preservation of the lords spiritual is that they are an antiquarian curio; indeed, their survival into the third decade of the twenty first century is something of a minor miracle. That is not sufficient justification for their remaining in the legislature. Moreover, their survival is so outlandish that it risks impairing the wider credibility of the Church, and in certain circles does just that. What has been little recognised is that since the Blair-Jay reforms of 1999 (intended at the time as a ‘temporary measure’) the lords have morphed slowly into… Read more »

Dave
Dave
27 days ago
Reply to  Such a sceptic

Church of England Bishops – ‘of England’ note. In a United Kingdom parliament… Why only English faith leaders! An unjust and unfair anachronism which the Church of England should address by withdrawing their bishops.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
28 days ago

It’s disturbing that Archbishop Sentamu has been awarded a peerage despite representations that there are unresolved safeguarding complaints against him. It demonstrates what a charade the HoL is.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
28 days ago

Philip- you are right; I did not put it well. I did not mean to suggest there was such a connection, but that a previous Archbishop had concluded that the House of Lords was no longer a better use of his time than whatever he does choose to put it to. Simon- I also note that the custom of appointing former Speakers of the House of Commons is being honoured in the breach at this time. And, finally for now, Such a Sceptic, you are not alone. I recall this https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2020/01/bill-to-end-bishops-automatic-right-to-sit-in-lords-introduced a bill introduced by Dick Taverne, whom I seem… Read more »

peter kettle
peter kettle
27 days ago

Life peerages have been given to some other retired bishops – currently, e.g. Richard Chartres, and Richard Harries. The last two Chief Rabbis have been life peers. One also thinks of Donald Soper and in the past, e.g. David Sheppard. Their contributions may, of course, not be to everyone’s taste, but if there is just a bit of an ecumenical / inter-faith effort to give a voice in Parliament to unelected persons (I am not expressing an opinion on that, just that it is – at the moment – the status quo,) then these appointments can have an actual influence… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
27 days ago
Reply to  peter kettle

Robin Eames, former Archbishop of Armagh, has been in the House of Lords since 1 November 1995. Kathleen Richardson, Baroness Richardson of Calow, the first woman to become President of the Methodist Conference, was made a life peer in 1998, and was a member until she retired in 2018.

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
26 days ago
Reply to  Anthony Archer

Mention could be made on the Ecumenical front of George Macleod a past Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and Founder of the Iona Community, who on retiring from the Leadership of Iona Community in 1967 became Lord Macleod of Fuinary, he was a known Pacifist and made use of his Peerage to promote Peace making and Social Justice Issues, however from what members of the Iona Community told me in the past, he preferred not to use his Peerage and title and preferred to be known as “Dr George” Jonathan.

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