Bishop of Gloucester gives Maiden Speech on International Women’s Day

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.


Bishop of Gloucester 10The 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”

Church Commissioner Questions – Women bishops, funeral poverty, employment tribunal, carbon footprint, WW2 Civilian Memorials

On the 5th November 2015 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, answered oral questions in the House of Commons on: women bishops, funeral poverty, the tribunal case of Jeremy Pemberton, the Church’s carbon footprint and a memorial day for civilian casualties of the Second World War. A full transcript is below.

Caroline SpelmanChurch Commissioners

The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners was asked—

Women Bishops

1. Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab): What assessment she has made of the effect of the introduction of the first woman bishop to the Lords Spiritual on the Church of England; and if she will make a statement. [902007] Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions – Women bishops, funeral poverty, employment tribunal, carbon footprint, WW2 Civilian Memorials”

Written answers: Female and LGBT clergy numbers in the CofE

On 8th June 2015 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, replied to two written parliamentary questions, on women and LGBT clergy.

Asked by Mr Virendra Sharma (Ealing, Southall) on: 02 June 2015

Clergy: Females

To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, how many members of the clergy in each of the last 10 years have been women.

Caroline SpelmanAnswered by: Mrs Caroline Spelman on: 08 June 2015

The most recent statistics available on the number of women in ordained ministry in the Church of England can be found in the table below. Continue reading “Written answers: Female and LGBT clergy numbers in the CofE”

Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill completes passage through Parliament

On 12th March 2015 the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill completed its passage through Parliament, when it received an unopposed Third Reading in the House of Lords. Continue reading “Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill completes passage through Parliament”

Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill – Lords Committee and Report Stages

On 26th February 2015 the House of Lords considered the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill in Committee. Continue reading “Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill – Lords Committee and Report Stages”

Bishop of Leicester: Lords Spritual (Women) Bill to serve “interests of the nation”

On 12th February 2015, the House of Lords debated the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill at Second Reading. The Bill will bring forward the time at which the first female diocesan bishops can sit as Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords. Speaking just prior to the ‘winding up’ of the debate, the Bishop of Leicester responded to a small number of questions raised in the course of the debate:
14.04.01 Bishop of LeicesterThe Lord Bishop of Leicester: My Lords, I know I speak for all of us on this Bench in wanting to express our appreciation to your Lordships’ House for the serious, thoughtful and supportive way that your Lordships have considered this legislation, and to rehearse the most reverend Primate’s appreciation to the Government and Opposition Benches, and to the usual channels, for making it possible for the Bill to reach this stage so quickly. Continue reading “Bishop of Leicester: Lords Spritual (Women) Bill to serve “interests of the nation””

Archbishop of Canterbury speaks in support of the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill

On 12th February 2015 the House of Lords debated the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill at Second Reading. The Bill will bring forward the time at which the first female diocesan bishops can sit as Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords. The Archbishop of Canterbury gave the Bill his wholehearted support. He said:

Archbishop of CanterburyThe Archbishop of Canterbury:

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for those opening remarks. I wish to put on record my personal thanks and those of the church to the Government for securing the time to bring this Bill forward, and to the Opposition for giving their support to the proposal. Continue reading “Archbishop of Canterbury speaks in support of the Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill”