A bill to fast-track women bishops into the House of Lords was introduced in Parliament yesterday.
The legislation proposes that the 21 “spiritual” seats be given to women bishops as they become available, rather than to the longest-serving bishop as is currently law. This provision would remain in place for 10 years.
Constitution minister Sam Gymiah explained in a statement to MPs that unless the current law is changed, “it would be many years before women bishops were represented in the Lords”.
“With the way clear for the first women to be appointed, it is right that those women should be among the bishops who occupy seats in the House of Lords (known as Lords Spiritual),” Gymiah said.
“The government’s bill, which is supported by the Church of England, proposes a modification of this rule for the next 10 years, so that if a female bishop is available when a Lords Spiritual seat becomes vacant, they will automatically be appointed to the House of Lords.”
Gymiah added that were no female bishop available, the vacant seat would be given to the next most senior male bishop, as is the current custom.
The Church of England has welcomed the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill. Bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens, who is convenor of bishops in the House of Lords said women bishops would “enrich and strengthen the leadership of the Church of England”.
“We are very confident that they will also enrich and strengthen our voice in the House of Lords,” he added.
“We have reason to suppose that this is supported from all sides of both Houses and we are grateful to the business managers for making time to get this minor amendment to the law in place as soon as possible…Read More
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