On the 5th December 2016, the House of Lords debated and approved a motion from Lord Cormack “to resolve that this House believes that its size should be reduced, and methods should be explored by which this could be achieved.” The Rt Revd David Urqhart, the Bishop of Birmingham and Convenor of the Lords Spiritual, spoke in the debate, supporting the motion.
Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I am pleased to be able to contribute to this important debate and am grateful to the Campaign for an Effective Second Chamber, in which we are allowed to participate from time to time, for bringing it to us today. I am also grateful for the remarks of the noble Lords and noble Baronesses who have already spoken. I have written down that I share their widely shared view that the House is too large, and I shall start on that point. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham supports move to reduce the size of the House of Lords”
On the 21st October 2016 Conservative Peer Lord Elton introduced the ‘House of Lords Bill’ – a Private Member’s Bill to reduce the size of the House of Lords. The Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd David Urquhart, spoke in support. A number of other Peers made reference to the Lords Spiritual and extracts of their remarks can be found after the Bishop’s speech, below.
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I am resisting the temptation to tear up my notes and respond to the noble Lord’s last quote. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Elton, for again bringing before us this important matter. It is widely agreed in many places that as weseek to be effective as a House, the size of the House is of great concern. Of course, as has already been said by the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, recent changes have attempted to alleviate the size of the House—we have adopted retirement provisions—yet they have not been sufficient to alleviate the flow of new Members. The statistics have already been referred to.
From this Bench, the Lords spiritual have spoken consistently over the past few years in support of reform aimed at addressing the size of the House—and we do so again, keeping in mind the aim of the House to improve the core functions of our scrutiny of legislation and government proposals from the other House, and of offering expertise and independence, which have already been referred to. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham supports Bill to reduce size of the House of Lords”
On 7th July 2016 Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, in her capacity as Second Church Estates Commissioner. Questions were asked on out of school settings, human trafficking, women bishops, bishops in the House of Lords, poverty and church toilets.
Mr Speaker: Order. We come now to questions to the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the right hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), representing the Church Commissioners, and to the right hon. Member for South West Devon—[Interruption.] I mean the hon. Member for South West Devon (Mr Streeter)—it is only a matter of time—representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission.
The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners was asked— Continue reading “Church Commissioner questions: Out of school settings, human trafficking, women bishops, House of Lords, poverty, church toilets”
On the 15th September 2015 the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, made his final speech before retirement from the House of Lords, during a debate on House of Lords Reform. The Bishop spoke about the contribution the Lords spiritual make to the House and the importance of the balance of power in the chamber being held by the independent and Crossbench Peers. Lord Cormack paid tribute on behalf of the House to the Bishop for all the work he has done in Parliament on behalf of the people of Staffordshire.
The Lord Bishop of Lichfield (Valedictory Speech): My Lords, one of my few really painful regrets is that I have not spent more time in your Lordships’ House, not least because of all the characters that one meets along these corridors. I remember that the first time I had a sandwich lunch here, I found myself sitting between one Peer who had just made a killing in his Bond Street gallery and another who had been in trade unions all his working life. It was wonderful to hear the conversation between them.
Continue reading “Farewell speech by the Bishop of Lichfield – House of Lords Reform”