Nick Clegg needs to be pressured into removing bishops from the House of Lords, a journalist writing in The Independent has said.
Johann Hari wants the 26 bishops who currently sit in the House of Lords to be ejected but the move could pave the way for the disestablishment of the Church of England.
Mr Hari, who is homosexual, was writing in response to ‘whispers’ regarding House of Lords reform plans, which the journalist said were being drawn up by Deputy Prime Minister Mr Clegg.
Mr Hari is angry at reports that Mr Clegg is considering keeping bishops in the House of Lords.
And the journalist also said “people close” to Mr Clegg “whisper” that he wants to introduce other religious figures into the Lords.
The journalist said Mr Clegg needs “to be pressured, fast” into making sure bishops are removed from the Lords.
Under the headline: “Get bishops out of our law-making”, Mr Hari hit out at the bishops for voting against measures within the highly controversial Equality Bill and for their stance on end-of-life issues.
The Equality Bill passed through Parliament in April but the Government had to accept defeat over its attempt to restrict church employment freedom.
At the time bishops expressed deep concern about the employment plans.
The equality legislation imposes the equality agenda in many areas of working life, both in the public and private sectors.
Mr Hari also blasted bishops in the Lords for opposing assisted suicide.
Attempts to weaken the law on assisted suicide, a form of euthanasia, have been rejected in recent years by Parliament.
Last year when leaked Labour Government proposals revealed plans for bishops’ say in the Lords to be quashed, the Church of England defended its role.
A spokesman for the Church said the role of the bishops in the Lords helps “connect the second chamber with the people, parishes and regions of England, not just their own worshippers”.
The spokesman continued: “In an age where the role of religion in shaping social and moral attitudes is increasingly recognised to be highly significant, the idea of shaping the second chamber on a purely secular model would be a retrograde step”.
Under the proposals bishops would have been only be allowed to vote on specific Church of England legislation.