From Hansard: “On 2nd July, 2019, Rt Revd Elizabeth Jane, Lord Bishop of Derby, was introduced and took the oath, supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, and signed an undertaking to abide by the Code of Conduct of the House of Lords.”
She and her two sponsors, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, spoke in the Bishops’ Robing Room shortly before the introduction:
On 9th May 2019 Lord Holmes of Richmond asked the Government “what steps they are taking to increase diversity in public appointments”. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I am conscious that these Benches may not embody everyone’s image of diversity. None the less, I was pleased to lead the final stages of the process by which these Benches were opened to women as well as men, although none of them is here today. I have also been chairing for the last five years a process within the Church where we are tasked with increasing the proportion of BME people in senior roles in the life of the Church. We have made some modest progress, though there is lots still to do. Nevertheless, we have learned that while legislation and processes are important, as has been indicated, so are culture, attitudes and bias. I wonder whether the Government might welcome some kind of forum within which quasi-public bodies might engage with public bodies so that we can share our learning on these matters. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester suggests shared learning forum to improve diversity in public appointments”
On 28th March 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions from MPs on digital connectivity, the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women, and Easter church attendance.
The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—
Church Land and Buildings: Digital Connectivity
Mrs Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall) (Con): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress has been made on implementing the joint accord between the Government and the Church of England on the use of Church land and buildings to support digital connectivity. 
Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions: digital connectivity, ordination of women, Easter”
On Tuesday 13th November a reception was held in Parliament with bishops and the First and Second Church Estates Commissioners, to celebrate the role of women in the church and public life, and to mark UK Parliament Week and the centenary of women getting the vote. The Bishops of London, Gloucester and Bristol, and the First Church Estates Commissioner Loretta Minghella, were asked questions by Second Estates Commissioner Dame Caroline Spelman MP and an audience of parliamentarians and clergy.
Continue reading “Senior women in the church celebrate UK Parliament Week and centenary of women’s suffrage”
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 17th March 2016 MPs put questions to Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, representing the Church Commissioners. Questions were asked on mission in deprived areas, helping ex-offenders into work, sustainable energy, women’s leadership in the church and the contribution of cathedrals to cultural and economic life. A transcript is below.
Continue reading “Church Commissioners’ Questions: mission, help for work, sustainable energy, women’s leadership, cathedrals”
On the 7th March 2016, Baroness Williams of Trafford led a debate in the House of Lords, “that this House takes note of the progress made in the United Kingdom in the areas of women’s representation and empowerment 150 years after the 1866 petition to the House of Commons for women’s suffrage.” During the debate, the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, gave her maiden speech, becoming the first female bishop in history to speak in the House of Lords.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords,
“This is a maiden speech, my Lords, and I would crave your indulgence”.
So began the maiden speech in November 1958 of Baroness Elliot of Harwood, the first female Peer to speak in this House. She went on to say,
“except for Her Majesty’s gracious Opening of Parliament, probably this is the first occasion in 900 years that the voice of a woman has been heard in the deliberations of this House”.—[Official Report, 4/11/1958; col. 161.]
I cannot make that claim but it certainly feels poignant to be participating in this particular debate as the first female bishop to be introduced as a Lord Spiritual. It is on that note that I thank noble Lords for the overwhelming warmth of their welcome, and for the most practical support that I have received from officers and staff. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester gives Maiden Speech on International Women’s Day”