Bishops in the Lords

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for your correspondence regarding the Church of England bishops who sit in the House of Lords.

The House of Lords plays a central role in the legislative process of our country as a revising chamber. While they respect the democratic legitimacy of the House of Commons, their role is to add another level of scrutiny and to bring to the Government’s attention aspects of proposed legislation which may cause unexpected problems.

For this reason, it is extremely useful to have a wide variety of people from different backgrounds in the House of Lords. Some will be trade union leaders, other are men and women with private-sector business experience, as well as former military commanders, former elected representatives, and more.

While they make no claims to direct representation, they seek to be a voice for all people of faith, not just Christians.

Although there are forty-two dioceses in the present-day Church of England, the number of places for Lords Spiritual is limited to twenty-six by statute.

I am not an Anglican myself, but in a society in which people of faith are increasingly marginalised, I see that the Church of England’s bishops play an important role in making sure that a full range of voices are brought to bear in our parliamentary debates.

Thank you for taking the time to get in touch with me.