Church forfeits seats in House of Lords

Published March 1, 2000

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has accepted a report on reforming the House of Lords that calls for an increase in the number of spiritual leaders, but a decrease in representation from the Church of England.

The report seeks to preserve formal religious representation in Parliament, which does not exist in any other democratic country. Religious belief is “an important part of people’s lives,” it says and it wants “philosophical, moral and spiritual” views represented in the chamber.

Under the proposals, the number of spiritual leaders would increase from 26 to 31, including five from mainstream non-Christian faiths. The Church of England would forfeit 10 of its 26 seats for bishops to make way for Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Church in Wales, Church of Ireland and Church of Scotland leaders.

A statement from the Church of England “warmly welcomed” the plans for more denominations and faiths to be represented.


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