Bishops hit disproportionately by revised Lords reform

Bishops may be disproportionately affected by the Government’s latest plans to reform the House of Lords.

Previous plans were for a 300-seat House of Lords, with twelve Church of England bishops.

But now the Government says it wants to see 450 seats in Parliament’s second chamber – with still only twelve bishops.

Too low

The Bishop of Leicester, Right Revd Tim Stevens, said “the decision to raise the proposed size of the House to 450 from the original proposal of 300 suggests that the proportion of bishops at the number of twelve may be too low”.

The House of Lords Reform Bill says the twelve bishops would be made up of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester and seven other bishops.

Critics are concerned about any move which could pave the way for the disestablishment of the Church of England.


Under the proposals 80 per cent of the members of the House of Lords will be elected for 15-year terms, with the first elections set to take place in 2015.

The plans for reform, which remain highly controversial, have been spearheaded by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Last year a journalist writing in The Independent said Mr Clegg needed to be pressured into removing the bishops.


Johann Hari was angry at reports that Mr Clegg was considering keeping bishops in the House of 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.

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