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The Lords Spiritual of the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
are the 26
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
s of the established
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
who serve in the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
(not counting retired archbishops who sit by right of a peerage). The
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland (CoS; sco, The Scots Kirk; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba), also known by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is the national National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis ...

Church of Scotland
, which is
Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of ...
, and the Anglican churches in
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...
and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...
, which are no longer established churches, are not represented. The Lords Spiritual are distinct from the
Lords Temporal The Lords Temporal are secular members of the House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of ...
, their secular counterparts who also sit in the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
.


Ranks and titles

The Church of England comprises 42
diocese In Ecclesiastical polity, church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. History In the later organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided Roman province, prov ...
s, each led by a
diocesan bishop A diocesan bishop, within various Christian traditions, is a bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Wit ...
. The
Archbishop In many Christian Denominations Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' an ...
s of
Canterbury Canterbury (, ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district of Kent, England. It lies on the River Stour, Kent, River Stour ...
and
York York is a cathedral city City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the monarch of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United ...
, as Primate of All England and Primate of England, respectively, have oversight over their corresponding
provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
. The occupants of the five "great sees"—
Canterbury Canterbury (, ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district of Kent, England. It lies on the River Stour, Kent, River Stour ...
,
York York is a cathedral city City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the monarch of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United ...
,
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...
, Durham and
Winchester Winchester is a cathedral city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London ...
—are always Lords of Parliament. Of the remaining 35 bishops, the 21 most senior sit in the House of Lords, although the normal operation of this rule was suspended in 2015 (following the decision of the Church to begin to appoint women as bishops), instead meaning that until 2025 every woman appointed as a bishop will automatically be appointed as a Lord Spiritual when a vacancy next arises, regardless of seniority, so as to balance out the representation of female Bishops in the House. Otherwise, seniority is determined by total length of service as an English diocesan bishop (that is to say, it is not lost by translation to another see). The
Bishop of Sodor and Man The Bishop of Sodor and Man is the Ordinary (officer), Ordinary of the Diocese of Sodor and Man (Manx Gaelic: ''Sodor as Mannin'') in the Province of York in the Church of England. The diocese only covers the Isle of Man. The Peel Cathedral, Cathed ...
and the
Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe The Bishop in Europe (full title: Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe) is the ordinary of the Church of England's Diocese in Europe in the Province of Canterbury The Province of Canterbury, or less formally the Southern Province, is one of two ec ...
may not sit in the House of Lords regardless of seniority as their dioceses lie outside both of England and of the United Kingdom. (The former, however, sits on the
Legislative Council of the Isle of Man The Legislative Council ( gv, Yn Choonceil Slattyssagh) is the upper chamber of Tynwald Tynwald ( gv, Tinvaal), or more formally, the High Court of Tynwald ( gv, Ard-whaiyl Tinvaal) or Tynwald Court, is the legislature A legislature is a d ...
''
ex officio An ''ex officio'' member is a member of a body (notably a board, committee, council) who is part of it by virtue of holding another office. The term ''ex officio An ''ex officio'' member is a member of a body (notably a board, committee, council) ...
''.) Theoretically, the power to elect archbishops and bishops is vested in the diocesan cathedral's college of canons. Practically, however, the choice of the archbishop or bishop is made prior to the election. The Prime Minister chooses from among a set of nominees proposed by the Crown Nominations Commission; the sovereign then instructs the college of canons to elect the nominated individual as a bishop or archbishop. One of the Lords Spiritual is appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to be the ''convenor'' of the bench; he or she coordinates the work of the bishops in the House.
David Urquhart David Urquhart (1 July 180516 May 1877) was a Scottish people, Scottish diplomat, writer and politician, serving as a Member of Parliament from 1847 to 1852. Early life and family Born at Braelangwell, Cromarty, Scotland,Dictionary of National B ...
,
Bishop of Birmingham The Bishop of Birmingham heads the Church of England Anglican Diocese of Birmingham, Diocese of Birmingham, in the Province of Canterbury, in England. The diocese covers the North West of the historical county of Warwickshire and has its Episcop ...
, was appointed the current convenor on 18 May 2015.


Peers

Even during the early years of the
Peerage A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary title Hereditary titles, in a general sense, are nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societi ...
, the position of bishops was unclear. During the reign of King
Richard II Richard II (6 January 1367 – c. 14 February 1400), also known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England from 1377 until he was List of deposed politicians, deposed in 1399. Richard's father, Edward the Black Prince, Edward, Prince of ...

Richard II
, the Archbishop of Canterbury declared, "of right and by the custom of the realm of England it belongeth to the Archbishop of Canterbury for the time being as well as others his suffragans, brethren and fellow Bishops, Abbots and Priors and other prelates whatsoever, — to be present in person in all the King's Parliaments whatsoever as Peers of the Realm". The claim was neither agreed nor disagreed to, however, by Parliament. The Lords Spiritual at first declared themselves entirely outside the jurisdiction of secular authorities; the question of trial in the House of Lords did not arise. When papal authority was great, the King could do little but admit a lack of jurisdiction over the prelates. Later, however, when the power of the Pope in England was reduced, the Lords Spiritual came under the authority of the secular courts. The jurisdiction of the common courts was clearly established by the time of
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged fro ...
, who declared himself head of the Church of England in place of the Pope, ending the constitutional power of the Roman Catholic Church in England. Despite their failure to be tried as temporal peers in the House of Lords, it remained unclear whether the Lords Spiritual were indeed peers. In 1688, the issue arose during the trial of the
Seven Bishops The Seven Bishops were members of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church which is the established church of England. The archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior clergy, cleric, although the Monarchy ...

Seven Bishops
William Sancroft William Sancroft (30 January 161724 November 1693) was the 79th Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communio ...
, Archbishop of Canterbury;
Sir Jonathan Trelawny, 3rd Baronet Sir Jonathan Trelawny, 3rd Baronet (24 March 1650 – 19 July 1721) was a British Bishop of Bristol A bishop is an ordained Ordination is the process by which individuals are Consecration, consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the ...
, Bishop of Winchester;
Thomas Ken Thomas Ken (July 1637 – 19 March 1711) was an English cleric Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; howe ...

Thomas Ken
, Bishop of Bath and Wells; John Lake, Bishop of Chester; William Lloyd, Bishop of Worcester; Francis Turner, Bishop of Ely and Thomas White, Bishop of Peterborough—by a common jury. The charge was that a petition sent by the Bishops constituted
seditious libel Sedition is overt conduct, such as speech Speech is human vocal communication using language. Each language uses Phonetics, phonetic combinations of vowel and consonant sounds that form the sound of its words (that is, all English words sound ...
; the Bishops argued that they had the
right to petition The right to petition government for redress of grievances is the right Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of ...
the Sovereign at any time, while the prosecution charged that such a right was only permissible when Parliament was in session (which, at the time of the delivery of the petition, it was not). If the bishops were only Lords of Parliament, and not peers, their right to petition would be vitiated while Parliament was dissolved. Peers, however, were and still are counsellors of the Sovereign whether Parliament is in session or not; therefore, if the bishops were indeed peers, they would be free to send petitions. Since there was no doubt that the petition was actually sent, while the Court still ruled the bishops not guilty, it appears that it was taken for granted that the bishops were counsellors of the Crown. Nevertheless, the ''Standing Orders of the House of Lords'' provide, "Bishops to whom a writ of summons has been issued are not Peers but are Lords of Parliament."


Number

In the early history of the
Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who u ...
, the Lords Spiritual—including the
abbot Abbot (from Aramaic Aramaic (: ''Arāmāyā''; : ; : ; ) is a language that originated among the in the ancient , at the end of the , and later became one of the most prominent languages of the . During its three thousand years long ...

abbot
s—outnumbered the Lords Temporal. Between 1536 and 1540, however, King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, thereby removing the seats of the abbots. For the first time and thereafter, Lords Spiritual formed a minority in the House of Lords.History of the Lords
from ''Parliament.uk'' retrieved 15 June 2013
In addition to the 21 older dioceses (including four in Wales), Henry VIII created six new ones, of which five survived (see historical development of Church of England dioceses); the Bishops of the Church of England were excluded in 1642 but regained their seats following the Restoration; from then until the early nineteenth century no new sees were created, and the number of lords spiritual remained at 26. Bishops, abbots, and priors, of the
Church of Scotland The Church of Scotland (CoS; sco, The Scots Kirk; gd, Eaglais na h-Alba), also known by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is the national National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis ...

Church of Scotland
traditionally sat in the
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereig ...
. Laymen acquired the monasteries in 1560, following the
Scottish Reformation The Scottish Reformation was the process by which Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, ...
, and therefore those sitting as "abbots" and "priors" were all laymen after this time. Bishops of the Church of Scotland continued to sit, regardless of their religious conformity. Roman Catholic clergy were excluded in 1567, but Episcopal bishops continued to sit until they too were excluded in 1638. The bishops regained their seats following the
Restoration Restoration is the act of restoring something to its original state and may refer to: * Conservation and restoration of cultural heritage * Restoration style Film and television * ''The Restoration'' (1909 film), a film by D.W. Griffith starr ...
, but were again excluded in 1689, following the final abolition of diocesan bishops and the permanent establishment of the Church of Scotland as Presbyterian. There are no longer bishops in the Church of Scotland, and that church has never sent any clergy to sit in the House of Lords at Westminster. Bishops and archbishops of the
Church of Ireland The Church of Ireland ( ga, Eaglais na hÉireann, ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ul ...
were entitled to sit in the
Irish House of Lords The Irish House of Lords was the upper house of the Parliament of Ireland that existed from medieval times until 1800. It was also the final court of appeal of the Kingdom of Ireland. It was modelled on the House of Lords of England, with mem ...
as Lords Spiritual. They obtained representation in the Westminster House of Lords after the union of Ireland and Great Britain in 1801. Of the Church of Ireland's ecclesiastics, four (one archbishop and three bishops) were to sit at any one time, with the members rotating at the end of every parliamentary session (which normally lasted approximately one year). The Church of Ireland, however, was disestablished in 1871, and thereafter ceased to be represented by Lords Spiritual. The
Bishop of Sodor and Man The Bishop of Sodor and Man is the Ordinary (officer), Ordinary of the Diocese of Sodor and Man (Manx Gaelic: ''Sodor as Mannin'') in the Province of York in the Church of England. The diocese only covers the Isle of Man. The Peel Cathedral, Cathed ...
, although a Bishop of the Church of England, has never been included among the English Lords Spiritual, as the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = "O Land of Our Birth The "National Anthem of the Isle of Man" ( gv, Arrane Ashoonagh Vannin) was written and composed by William Henry Gill (1839–1923), with the Manx translation by John J. Kneen (1873–1939). It is often r ...

Isle of Man
has never been part of the Kingdom of England or of the United Kingdom. The Lord Bishop is the holder of the oldest office in
Tynwald Tynwald ( gv, Tinvaal), or more formally, the High Court of Tynwald ( gv, Ard-whaiyl Tinvaal) or Tynwald Court, is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political en ...
(the oldest continuous parliament in the world) and remains an ''ex officio'' member of
Tynwald Court Tynwald ( gv, Tinvaal), or more formally, the High Court of Tynwald ( gv, Ard-whaiyl Tinvaal) or Tynwald Court, is the legislature of the Isle of Man. It claims to be the oldest continuous parliamentary body in the world. It consists of two chamb ...
and of the island's
Legislative Council A legislative council is the legislature, or one of the legislative chambers, of a nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared terri ...
. In the 19th century, the dioceses of the Church of England began gradually to come under review again. However an increase in the bench of bishops was not considered politically expedient, and so steps were undertaken to prevent it. In 1836, the first new bishopric was founded, that of Ripon; but it was balanced out by the merger of the Bishoprics of Bristol and
Gloucester Gloucester ( ) is a cathedral city City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the monarch of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the ...
. (They were later divided again.) The creation of the Bishopric of Manchester was also planned but delayed until St Asaph and Bangor could be merged. They never were; but in 1844, the Bishopric of Manchester Act 1847 went ahead anyway with an alternative means to maintain the 26-bishop limit in the House of Lords: the seniority-based proviso which has been maintained to this day. However, the
Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015 The Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015 is an Act of Parliament Acts of parliament, sometimes referred to as primary legislation, are texts of law passed by the Legislature, legislative body of a jurisdiction (often a parliament or council). In most ...
gives any woman appointed a diocesan bishop in England during the next decade priority in terms of succeeding those among the current 21 who retire during that period.
Rachel Treweek Rachel Treweek (''née'' Montgomery; born 4 February 1963) is a British Anglican bishop, Lords Spiritual, Lord Spiritual and former speech and language therapist. Since June 2015, she has been Bishop of Gloucester, the first female diocesan bishop ...
became Bishop of Gloucester and the first woman Lord Spiritual under the Act in 2015;
Christine Hardman Christine Elizabeth Hardman ( Atkins; born 27 August 1951) is a British Anglican bishop and Lord Spiritual. Since 22 September 2015, she has been the Bishop of Newcastle (England), Bishop of Newcastle. She was Archdeacon of Lewisham from 2001 to 2 ...
became the second later that year. In 1920, with the independence of the
Church in Wales The Church in Wales ( cy, Yr Eglwys yng Nghymru) is the Anglicanism, Anglican church in Wales, composed of six dioceses. The Archbishop of Wales does not have a fixed archiepiscopal see, but serves concurrently as one of the six diocesan bishop ...
from the Church of England and its
disestablishment The separation of church and state is a philosophic and jurisprudential concept for defining political distance in the relationship between religious organizations Religious activities generally need some infrastructure to be conducted. F ...
, the Welsh bishops stopped being eligible for inclusion. The 26 seats for the Lords Spiritual are approximately % of the total membership of the House of Lords.


Politics

Although the Lords Spiritual have no party affiliation, they do not sit on the
crossbenches A crossbencher is an independent or minor party member of some Legislature, legislatures, such as the British House of Lords and the Parliament of Australia. They take their name from the crossbenches, between and perpendicular to the government ...
, their seats being on the Government side of the Lords Chamber, on the right-hand side of the throne. Though in a full sitting the Bishops occupy almost three rows, the Lords Spiritual's front bench is subtly distinguished by being the only one in the House with a single armrest at either end; it is on the front row, close to the throne end of the chamber, indicating their unique status. By custom at least one of the Bishops reads prayers in each legislative day (a role taken by the Chaplain to the Speaker in the Commons). They often speak in debates; in 2004
Rowan Williams Rowan Douglas Williams, Baron Williams of Oystermouth, (born 14 June 1950) is a Welsh People, Welsh Anglican bishop, theologian and poet. He was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, a position he held from December 2002 to December 2012. Previ ...

Rowan Williams
, then Archbishop of Canterbury, opened a debate into sentencing legislation. Measures (
proposed laws Proposal(s) or The Proposal may refer to: * Proposal (business)A term of business proposal is a written offer from a seller to a prospective sponsor. Business proposals are often a key step in the complex sales process—i.e., whenever a buyer con ...
of the Church of England) must be put before the Lords, and the Lords Spiritual have a role in ensuring that this takes place.


Other religious figures as Lords Temporal

Other religious figures have sat in the House of Lords as Lords Temporal in recent times:
Chief Rabbi Chief Rabbi ( he, רב ראשי ''Rav Rashi'') is a title given in several countries to the recognized religious leader of that country's Jewish community Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', " Juda ...
Immanuel Jakobovits Immanuel Jakobovits, Baron Jakobovits (8 February 192131 October 1999) was the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth The Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth is the se ...

Immanuel Jakobovits
was appointed to the House of Lords (with the consent of the Queen, who acted on the advice of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher), as was his successor Chief Rabbi
Jonathan Sacks Lord Jonathan Henry Sacks, Baron Sacks ( he, יעקב צבי זקס, translit=Ya'akov Tzvi Zaks; 8 March 19487 November 2020) was a British Orthodox rabbi A rabbi is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi ...
. In recognition of his work at reconciliation and in the
peace process A peace process is the set of sociopolitical negotiations, agreements and actions that aim to solve a specific armed conflict. Definitions Prior to an armed conflict occurring, peace processes can include the prevention of an intra-state or int ...
in Northern Ireland,
Robin Eames Robert Henry Alexander "Robin" Eames, Baron Eames, (born 27 April 1936) is an Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of Engl ...
, the Church of Ireland (Anglican)
Archbishop of Armagh The Archbishop of Armagh is an archiepiscopal In many Christian Denominations, an archbishop (, via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was ori ...
, was appointed to the Lords by
John Major Sir John Major (born 29 March 1943) is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997. He served in the Third Thatcher mi ...

John Major
. Other Christian clergy appointed include the Methodist minister
Donald Soper Donald Oliver Soper, Baron Soper (31 January 1903 – 22 December 1998) was a British Methodist Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related Christian denomination, denominations of Protestantism, Protestan ...
, the Anglican priest Timothy Beaumont, and some Scottish clerics. There have been no Roman Catholic clergy appointed since the Reformation, though it was rumoured that Cardinal
Basil Hume George Basil Hume, Order of Saint Benedict, OSB (2 March 1923 – 17 June 1999) was an English Roman Catholic bishop. He was a monk and priest of the English English Benedictine Congregation, Benedictine monastery of Ampleforth Abbey and its a ...
, the
Archbishop of Westminster The Archbishop of Westminster heads the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster, in England. The incumbent is the metropolitan of the Province of Westminster, chief metropolitan of England and Wales and, as a matter of custom, is elected preside ...
, and his successor, Cardinal
Cormac Murphy O'Connor Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (24 August 1932 – 1 September 2017) was a British Cardinal (Catholicism), cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop of Westminster and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. He was ma ...
, were offered peerages by
James Callaghan Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, (; 27 March 191226 March 2005), commonly known as Jim Callaghan, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdo ...

James Callaghan
, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair respectively, but declined. Hume later accepted the
Order of Merit An order of merit is an honorific order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, tr ...
, a personal appointment of the Queen, shortly before his death. O'Connor said he had his maiden speech ready, but ordained Roman Catholics are prohibited by the internal canon law of the Roman Catholic Church from holding major offices connected with any government other than the
Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian ...
. Former archbishops of Canterbury and of York, who revert to the status of regular bishop, and are no longer diocesans, are invariably given
life peer In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefe ...
ages and sit as Lords Temporal.


2011 proposed House of Lords reform

Under the 2011
Coalition Government A coalition government is a form of government in which political parties cooperate to form a government. The usual reason for such an arrangement is that no single party has achieved an absolute majority after an election An election is a ...
draft proposal for Lords reform, the Lords would be either 80% elected and 20% appointed, or 100% elected. In the former case, there would be 12 Church of England bishops in the reformed Upper House. The total of 12 bishops would include the five "named Lords Spiritual" (the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of Durham, London and Winchester, entitled as they are to sit ''ex officio'') plus seven other "ordinary Lords Spiritual" (diocesan bishops chosen by the church itself through whatever device it deems appropriate). The reduction from 26 to 12 bishops would be achieved in a stepped fashion: up to 21 bishops would remain for the 2015–2020 period and up to 16 for the 2020–2025 period. The ordinary Lords Spirituals' terms would coincide with each "electoral period" (i.e., the period from one election to the next), with the church able to name up to seven to serve during each electoral period. These reforms were later dropped.


2015 change temporarily giving preference to women becoming Lords Spiritual

Under the
Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015 The Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015 is an Act of Parliament Acts of parliament, sometimes referred to as primary legislation, are texts of law passed by the Legislature, legislative body of a jurisdiction (often a parliament or council). In most ...
whenever a vacancy arises among the Lords Spiritual during the ten years (18 May 2015 – 18 May 2025) following the Act coming into force, the vacancy has to be filled by a woman, if one is eligible. This does not apply to the sees of Canterbury, York, London, Durham and Winchester. Four women have consequently become Lords Spiritual as a result, as of November 2020. (Additionally,
Sarah Mullally Dame Sarah Elisabeth Mullally, (née Bowser; born 26 March 1962) is a British Anglican bishop, Lord Spiritual and former nurse. She has been Bishop of London since 8 March 2018.
Sarah Mullally
has entered the Lords ''ex officio'' when appointed
Bishop of London The Bishop of London is the Ordinary (church officer), ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers of 17 boroughs of Greater London north of the Thames, River Thames (historically the ...
in 2018.)


Criticism

The presence of the Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords has been criticised by some claiming the system to be outdated and non-democratic by some media commentators and organisations. The
British Humanist Association Humanists UK, known from 1967 until May 2017 as the British Humanist Association (BHA), is a charitable organisation which promotes secular humanism and aims to represent "people who seek to live good lives without religious or superstitious beli ...
said it was "unacceptable" that "the UK is the only Western democracy to give religious representatives the automatic right to sit in the legislature".
Richard Chartres Richard John Carew Chartres, Baron Chartres, , FBS (; born 11 July 1947) is a retired bishop of the Church of England. He was area Area is the quantity that expresses the extent of a two-dimensional region, shape, or planar lamina, in t ...
, then
Bishop of London The Bishop of London is the Ordinary (church officer), ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers of 17 boroughs of Greater London north of the Thames, River Thames (historically the ...
, defended the bishops, saying they are "in touch with a great range of opinions and institutions", and suggesting the inclusion of "leading members in Britain's faith communities".


See also

*
Christian state A Christian state is a country that recognizes a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings o ...
*
List of Lords Spiritual The active bishops of the Church of England are usually either diocesan bishopA diocesan bishop, within various Christian traditions, is a bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian cl ...
*
Lord Bishop "Lord Bishop" is a traditional form of address used for bishops since the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similarly to the Post-classic ...
*
Reform of the House of Lords Certain governments in the United Kingdom have, for more than a century, attempted to find a way to reform the House of Lords The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by appointment, heredity ...


References


Bibliography


Davies, Michael. (2003) ''Companion to the Standing Orders and guide to the Proceedings of the House of Lords'', 19th ed.



External links

* {{UK legislatures, state=autocollapse Bishops by type Religion and politics Church of England ecclesiastical polity Religion in the City of Westminster House of Lords Constitution of the United Kingdom Episcopacy in Anglicanism de:House of Lords#Geistliche Lords