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Committee on Lords Reform to recommend fewer Bishops

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The Joint Committee on Lords Reform will shortly recommend that the number of Bishops in the House of Lords should be reduced from 26 to 12.

The Committee, consisting of Peers and MPs, will publish its report on Monday 23 April. The Government is likely to follow its recommendations, and is due to publish its plans for a largely elected second chamber in May.

Nick Clegg is currently in charge of House of Lords reform.

Bishops from the Church of England have been in Parliament for over 700 years.They are known as the ‘Lords Spiritual’ and represent the established church.

The plans have led to concern that reducing the number of Bishops may pave the way for the disestablishment of the Church of England.

Role of Bishops

A Church of England statement on the role of the Bishops in the House of Lords states:

“The continuing place of Anglican bishops in the Lords reflects our enduring constitutional arrangement, with an established Church of England and its Supreme Governor as Monarch and Head of State.

“There is always a Lord Spiritual in the House of Lords when it is sitting, to read prayers at the start of the day and to participate in the business of the House.

“Their presence in the Lords is an extension of their general vocation as bishops to preach God's word and to lead people in prayer. Bishops provide an important independent voice and spiritual insight to the work of the Upper House and, while they make no claims to direct representation, they seek to be a voice for all people of faith, not just Christians.”


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