The Second Church Estates Commissioner is by convention an MP drawn from the governing party in the House of Commons. The Commissioner’s primary parliamentary role is to answer oral and written questions from MPs about Church of England matters.
The current occupant of the role is Rt Hon. Dame Caroline Spelman MP, Conservative MP for Meriden.
The Second Church Estates Commissioner is a member of Parliament’s Ecclesiastical Committee (the joint committee of both Houses that scrutinises Church of England legislation) and has responsibility for steering Church of England legislation through the House of Commons.
He or she also provides an important link between Government and the established Church of England. Whilst the position exists to maintain the statutory accountability of the Church Commissioners to Parliament, the post has evolved over the time of successive Second Commissioners to seek to provide a link between Government and Parliament on the one hand and the Church on the other.
The post is a Crown appointment, made on the advice of the Prime Minister and whilst it is honorary and unpaid, the position of Second Church Estates Commissioner is included in the published list of Government members. The Second Church Estates Commissioner is also an ex-officio member of the Church of England’s General Synod and is required to be a confirmed lay member of the Church of England.
For more on the organisational history of the Commissioners, click here.
For a list of past occupants of the post of Second Church Estates Commissioner, click here.
See also these pages on the Church of England website.