4 Appointments, Bishops and Ministers |
|Relevant sections of the draft Bill: Clauses 16 - 25, and Schedules 4 and 5
THE GOVERNMENT'S PROPOSALS
225. The draft Bill proposes that 20 per cent of the reformed
House of Lords should be appointed to "bring a non-party
political perspective to the work carried out by the reformed
House of Lords". The Committee considered the case for having
an appointed element in a reformed House of Lords earlier in this
report (section 6 above), and supported the Government's proposed
226. An Appointments Commission, established on a
statutory basis, would recommend members who would be appointed
at the same time as elected members take their seats. The draft
Bill proposes that a third of the total number of appointed members
be appointed every five years, to match the staggered elections
envisaged for elected members. The Appointments Commission would
comprise seven Commissioners. While MPs and Minister would not
be eligible for appointment as Commissioners, the Government propose
no ban on former or current members of the House of Lords serving
227. According to the draft Bill, when appointing
members the Appointments Commission "must select persons
for recommendation ... on merit on the basis of fair and open
competition" and "in doing so it must take account of
the principle that, although past or present party political activity
or affiliation does not necessarily preclude selection, the role
of an appointed member is to make a contribution to the work of
the House of Lords which is not a party political contribution".
228. While existing cross-bench peers will leave
the House during the transitional period, it is to be assumed
they could re-apply to the statutory Appointments Commission for
membership in the reformed House.
THE APPOINTMENTS COMMISSION
229. The current House of Lords Appointments Commission
is an independent, advisory, non-departmental public body established
by the Prime Minister in May 2000. It has two functions. First,
it recommends individuals for appointment as non-party members
of the House of Lords. Secondly, it vets all nominations for life
peerages, including those proposed by the UK political parties,
for propriety. It has seven members, and operates on a five-year
230. There was general agreement among witnesses
that appointments to the House of Lords should be made by a statutory
Appointments Commission. Those witnesses in favour of an wholly
elected House who commented on this aspect of the draft Bill,
such as Unlock Democracy, agreed that, should an appointed element
be retained they, "would expect this process to be managed
by an Appointments Commission rather than by political patronage".
Those opposed to an elected chamber also supported the introduction
of a statutory Appointments Commission,
often stating their support for the provisions included in Lord
Steel of Aikwood's House of Lords Reform Bill, which at the time
included provision for a statutory Appointments Commission.
Lord Howarth of Newport, also opposed to an elected upper House,
"The government are right also to include in
their proposals the creation of a statutory Appointments Commission.
For so long as there are to be appointed members of the second
chamber a Statutory Appointments Commission will be needed. It
is not respectable that the existing Appointments Commission (admirable
though its work has been) should be the creature of Prime Ministerial
agree that the Appointments Commission should be placed on a statutory
232. We support
the establishment of a statutory Joint Committee of members of
the two Houses to oversee the Appointments Commission, as proposed
in the draft Bill. This Joint Committee should oversee the governance
of the Commission in addition to the responsibilities set out
for it in the draft Bill.
233. We support
the Government's proposal that the Appointments Commission could
appropriately include former and current members of the House
of Lords, but not serving MPs or Ministers.
CRITERIA FOR APPOINTED MEMBERS
234. The White Paper stated that the Commission would
"set its own criteria and process of appointment but it would
be under a statutory duty to publish the criteria of appointment
and the details of the appointments process".
Lord Jay of Ewelme, Chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission,
told us however that there might be certain criteria which it
would be "useful to have on the face of the Bill," such
as "political independence and the ability to make an effective
contribution to the work of the House".
We consider below certain key criteria which could be placed on
the face of the Bill to inform and guide the work of the Appointments
Independence of appointees
235. Questioned on the political independence of
appointed Peers, Lord Jay was clear:
"The Commission's view is that you are appointing
to the Cross Benches and that that should be for the length of
period for which you are in the House. You are appointing people
to the Cross Benches of the House of Lords, not as a way in to
a party-political position".
236. The Minister agreed with this position: "we
set out the fact that we thought that the Members who were appointed
should be non-party political. We are very clear in the legislation
that anyone who has a party label should get elected. The role
of the Appointments Commission should be to appoint those who
effectively are Cross-Benchers, to use the current parlance".
He thought that such independence was helpful. He noted that "the
Cross-Benchers bring a set of experiences where they are not necessarily
guided by that party Whip. We felt that that was an advantage,
given the different role that we see for the House of Lords".
237. Several witnesses
commented on the independence of cross-bench peers. Professor
Gavin Phillipson supported a mixed chamber as he believed that
appointed members would allow a degree of independence that might
be difficult to achieve through elections alone.
Unlock Democracy, while in favour of a 100 per cent elected House,
were adamant that "if you are going to have appointment ...
let us have those people not as party people ... Party people
should be elected through the electoral system".
238. The Committee agrees that appointed members
should be independent. One of the benefits that we see arising
from the presence of independent cross-benchers is the effect
that it has on debates. The inclusion of genuinely independent
members ensures that speakers in debate do not simply make party
political points, but have to make a persuasive argument that
will appeal to the non-politically aligned. Damien Welfare agreed
that "certainly there is an argument that, in a mixed elected
and appointed House, that would still be the case and would be
something that the Government would have to consider".
This is not to say that individuals who have previously been party
politically active should be banned from appointment, but rather
that such members should no longer have an recent overt party
political affiliation which would influence their behaviour in
Expertise and experience
239. In any project to reform the membership of the
current House of Lords the problem will arise of how to replace
the breadth of expertise and experience found amongst members
of the present House, and in particular among cross-bench peers.
Some witnesses argued that directly elected members would not
possess the same level of expertise as the current appointed membership.
For such witnesses an essential function of a 20 per cent appointed
element would be to increase the overall expertise of a mainly
elected House. Pauline Latham MP, for example, wrote:
"The House of Lords is currently made up of
many specialists in the areas of academia, health, business, the
services, and many, many more. With such specialist talent, it
is highly unlikely that these people would be likely to stand
She added, however, her concern that were only 20
per cent of a reformed House appointed this would jeopardise the
current level of expertise. Lord Maclennan of Rogart, while a
supporter of an elected House, likewise thought that there would
be an "inescapable loss" of expertise and experience
with the removal of appointed members.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York pointed to the expertise
that appointments could bring but also to the breadth of civil
society it could help to include in terms of the voluntary, community
and charitable sectors.
A large number of other submissions concurred with this view of
expertise and appointments.
240. Others were less convinced that the appointment
of cross-benchers was the only means to introduce expertise into
a reformed House. The Minister thought that cross-benchers brought
"a different perspective" to debates on legislation,
but he was clear that expertise would be not be found solely on
the cross-benches, stating bluntly that "in the generality,
I just do not buy the argument that people who are prepared to
seek election do not bring a lot of experience with them".
Professor Hugh Bochel and his colleagues meanwhile stated that
in the current House of Lords expertise was "patchy, may
be deficient in a number of key policy areas, and as members are
appointed for life, is in some cases a diminishing resource".
241. Unlock Democracy wondered whether "expertise
can more effectively be brought into the legislature though the
appointment of special advisers to select committees or to committees
to consider specific Bills rather than through full time membership
of the second chamber". This would also ensure that the expertise
was always relevant and up-to-date and that experts would not
have to "choose between their existing careers and advising
on legislation in their field".
Others proposed similar suggestions for including outside expertise
in the legislative process.
242. Lord Jay was clear that "it would be the
job of the Appointments Commission to ensure that there was a
sufficient range of expertise". He noted that the current
House of Lords Appointments Commission had commissioned a study
on the expertise available to the House and then "tried to
make certain that we can fill those gaps, in so far as that is
consistent with merit and so on". He thought that "that
kind of work would be necessary under the Bill with 20% nominated
.. It would be necessary to continue to try and make certain that
there was a good diversity of skills".
243. Evidence suggested that a 100 per cent elected
House would be unlikely to attract the breadth and depth of expertise
now present in the House of Lords. Outside expertise is of course
already brought into the House's deliberations through the work
of Select Committeesone obvious example being the work
of this Joint Committeebut the evidence clearly shows that
there is a role for appointed members to ensure that a range of
necessary expertise is represented in the chamber.
244. We asked whether the Appointments Commission
should take pains to appoint a diverse range of members. Lord
Jay suggested that "I think that you would want to try to
ensure that there was a reasonable balance of diversity in the
broadest sense in the 20 names that you were proposing for appointmentdiversity
in terms of ethnic background and gender throughout the United
When asked whether the Appointments Commission should try to appoint
members to correct gender or ethnic imbalances amongst elected
members, however, Lord Jay felt that "you would just have
to look at the appointed only".
245. Other witnesses agreed that diversity was an
issue that an Appointments Commission should focus on.
Lord Howarth of Newport observed that the appointed House of Lords
"already has a better gender balance than the Commons, and
a statutory Appointments Commission, tasked to make progress on
this, would be well placed to do so".
Some witnesses supported more stringent requirements: the Hansard
Society, the Fawcett Society, the Electoral Reform Society and
others argued that it should be a statutory requirement of the
Appointments Commission to appoint equal numbers of men and women.
246. We heard specific evidence on the issue of
whether the Appointments Commission should promote religious diversity
in a reformed House. Among others,
Theos and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York argued that the
Appointments Commission's criteria should include a focus on religious
diversity to ensure that a range of faiths were represented in
the upper House.
The Minister told us that "it would be perfectly open to
the Appointments Commission to take into account the faith diversity
of the country, in the same way as it is able to now, when thinking
about whom it appointed".
Lord Jay stressed, however, that an Appointments Commission should
make appointments "on merit and to be looking at the range
of expertise that the House clearly needed, rather than by quotas".
247. Lord Jay stated that he was "very conscious
of geographic imbalance" in the current house;
an issue which the Minister described more strongly as a "massive
skewing of representation towards London and the south-east and
slight overrepresentation in Scotland, with massive underrepresentation
in all the other parts of the United Kingdom".
The Committee note that, should elected members be elected on
a regional basis, this would obviously cease to be an issue among
the 80 per cent elected element of a reformed House.
248. We consider
that the values set out aboveindependence, expertise and
experience, and diversityshould form a core around which
the Appointments Commission should construct its criteria for
appointing members to the House of Lords. While we recognise that
the Appointments Commission should apply its criteria independently,
we believe that it is appropriate that Parliament should have
the final say on the criteria devised by the Appointments Commission,
and the guidance it produces on how it will apply those criteria.
249. We consider
that there would be merit in placing on the face of the Bill certain
broad criteria to which the Appointments Commission "should
have regard" when recommending individuals for appointment.
We recommend that these should be:
- an absence
of recent overt party political affiliation;
- the ability and willingness
to contribute effectively to the work of the House;
- the diversity of the United
Kingdom, in the broadest sense;
- inclusion of the major faiths;
- integrity and standards in public
of the Appointment Commission's criteria, or guidance produced
under them, should be subject to parliamentary approval through
the super-affirmative procedure.
PART-TIME VS FULL-TIME
251. We questioned Lord Jay on the effect of requiring
appointed members to perform a full-time role in the House. He
"this in a way goes to the heart of it. The
nature of the expertise of people who would come to the House
if it were as proposed in the Bill would be different from what
it is now. Some people who would now choose to apply would not
choose to apply, while some people having looked closely at the
terms of reference will conclude that it is not possible to be
a full-time Member of a reformed House of Lords and continue to
do other things as well".
"if you are appointing people with a degree
of expertise to a full-time House, how are they going to maintain
that expertise when they do not have the time that they now have
to pursue other interests and bring the expertise thus gained
into the work of the House of Lords?".
252. Lord Jay told us that his "own view is
that the Cross-Bench Peers in an 80:20 elected House should be
full-time and not part-time" because if they were part-time
"there will be a very great distinction between the elected
Members and the appointed Members".
253. Other witnesses took a different view however.
The Clerk of the Parliaments did not see any practical difficulties
arising from a House containing both full-time and part-time members,
noting that "we already have members who devote different
portions of their time to their membership. That seems to work
... I would certainly not accept that it has to be full-time".
254. The Deputy Prime Minister acknowledged that
it was a "finely balanced argument"
"On the one hand, if one is going to confer
a democratic mandate on elected Members of the House of Lords,
in order to reciprocate the confidence the people have invested
in you, you should be applying yourself full time to the job of
scrutinising and revising Government legislation. There is a very
powerful argument that says that, precisely in order to retain
that independence of spirit and objectivity of mind and thought,
not only is it worth having people elected, particularly under
the STV system where they are freer of party strictures, but there
might be a case for allowing them to continue to do other things
so they have one leg in politics, if you like, and one leg in
the real world".
consider that the advantages of having part-time appointed members
(the maintenance of professional expertise and the ability to
attract individuals who would not want to commit to a full-time
role) outweigh the possible disadvantage (that it might result
in a two-tier House). We recommend therefore that appointed members
should not have to commit to the same level of activity as elected
members of the reformed House of Lords. The
pay implications of this decision are discussed at section 19
256. Earlier in this report (section 12 above) the
Committee recommended that elected members should be subject to
a minimum attendance requirement, with members who failed to attend
over 50 per cent of sittings days in a session being forced to
stand for re-election. Such a mechanism would not be appropriate
for appointed members, particularly if they do not have to commit
to a full-time role in the House. We believe, however, that there
should be some mechanism to remove appointed members who fail
to contribute as expected to the work of the House.
257. To ensure
that there is a mechanism to remove appointed members who fail
to contribute to the work of the House as expected, we recommend
that appointments made by the Commission should be for an initial
term of five years, with the expectation of reappointment up to
the maximum limit of an elected term.
258. The Committee
expect that the Appointments Commission will use its discretion
to decide what they consider to be an appropriate "contribution
to the work of the House," and that such a definition will
the Committee note that appointed members wishing to leave the
House at the end of a five-year period could do so by giving notice
to the Appointments Commission that they did not wish to be reappointed.
16. Appointed Ministers
|Relevant section of the draft Bill: Clause 34
260. For many years, Prime Ministers have used grants of peerages
to appoint individuals from outside the political mainstream as
Ministers of the Crown. It is a convention that Ministers of the
Crown should be members either of the House of Commons or the
House of Lords, and Clause 34 of the draft Bill enables Her Majesty
The Queen to appoint ministerial members of the House of Lords
on the advice of the Prime Minister. Their membership of the House
ceases when they cease to be a Minister. Accordingly, the writ
of summons previously issued has no further effect.
261. In Clause 34 of the draft Bill, Subsection (7)
confers on the Prime Minister wide-ranging power by order to make
provision about the appointment, number, disqualification and
payment (including allowances) of ministerial members, and about
the circumstances in which they cease to be a ministerial member.
It also allows for persons who are or have been ministerial members
to be disqualified from being another kind of member of the House
(e.g. from seeking election).
262. The Government propose that Ministers may also
be drawn from elected members of the House of Lords and from transitional
members during the transitional period. No reason is given on
the face of the Bill why appointed members could not also be ministers.
263. Most witnesses who contributed views on this
part of the Bill favoured these provisions, including Lord Adonis
and Lord Carter of Barnes (both of whom were appointed with a
view to serving as ministers). Some were concerned that the Prime
Minister's power to appoint ministerial members of the House of
Lords gave him or her the power to alter the party balance in
a reformed House, which could be decisive if one side had a narrow
Adonis argued that a limit on ministerial appointments should
be imposed: "Being realistic, what flexibility does a Prime
Minister need? They are not realistically going to want to appoint
more than about five, unless the objective was to sway the balance
of parties in the Lords, I would have thought".
264. Another suggested solution to this issue was
that ministerial members of the House of Lords might be denied
the right to vote; they would simply speak, and represent their
departments in the Upper House. We acknowledge the argument that
a Minister of the Crown unable to vote for a Bill which he was
responsible might be disappointed but by what logic should he
be permitted to vote on other matters? Another proposed solution
was that a reformed House of Lords should not contain any Ministers
of the Crown at all, but that ministers should have the ability
to address the House. This would preserve a degree of accountability,
while also distinguishing the reformed House from the Commons.
Such an arrangement would present certain practical difficultiesfor
example, Ministers would be unable to move Government amendments
to Bills which would clearly be absurd.
265. There was support for the notion that Members
appointed to the reformed House as Ministers of the Crown should
cease to belong to the House when they cease to hold ministerial
office. Lord Adonis, for example, stated that "if the second
Chamber were wholly elected or 80% elected, with the non-elected
Members as the Cross-Benchers, the sole legitimacy of that person
being in the Lords would be their possession of ministerial office,
so the argument for their membership ceasing when their ministerial
office ceases is logically and democratically very strong".
This would prevent the House from becoming too large, and emphasise
the particular purpose of specially-appointed ministers in the
House of Lords.
266. We recommend
that a reformed House of Lords should continue to contain Ministers
of the Crown to represent the Government. In a fully-elected House,
there should be no power to appoint additional members to carry
out ministerial roles.
267. We agree
that the Prime Minister should be able to appoint a small number
of additional members to a hybrid (part-elected, part-appointed)
House as Ministers of the Crown. We believe that these members
should have the right to sit, but not to vote, in a reformed House.
268. We acknowledge
that the appointment of ministers to the Lords is a significant
power of patronage. We have recommended that such appointees should
not vote. Were the Government not to accept this recommendation,
however, we would recommend that the number of additional ministerial
appointments should be limited, to no more than five at any one
time. This limit should be on the face of the Bill.
269. We also
agree that Members appointed to the House of Lords specifically
as Ministers of the Crown should cease to be Members on the termination
of their ministerial appointment. This reflects the special circumstances
under which they come to be Members.
270. The House
of Lords Appointments Commission should vet the individuals appointed
as Ministers of the Crown for probity. In this capacity, it should
act only as an advisory body to the Prime Minister. It should
not have the power of veto over ministerial appointments.
17 Lords Spiritual
|Relevant sections of the draft Bill: Clauses 26 - 33
271. Lords Spiritual have been a part of the legislature since
Parliament's earliest meetings. Under the current arrangements,
26 bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords.
Five sit ex officio: the Church's two primates, the Archbishop
of Canterbury (Primate of All England) and the Archbishop of York
(Primate of England); and the three diocesan bishops of the "great
sees", the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester. Of the
remaining 37 eligible diocesan bishops (the Bishops of Sodor and
Man, and Gibraltar in Europe are ineligible for service in the
House of Lords), the 21 most senior by length of service
also sit in the Lords.
272. The United Kingdom's other established church,
the Church of Scotland, is not formally represented in the House
of Lords. No other faith leaders sit ex officio.
THE GOVERNMENT'S PROPOSALS
273. The draft Bill would preserve the presence in
a reformed House of the two Archbishops and the Bishops of London,
Durham and Winchester, for as long as the incumbents hold their
offices. In addition, the draft Bill provides for the presence
of a decreasing number of "ordinary Lords Spiritual"
to sit alongside those five "named Lords Spiritual"
in a reformed House. For the first transitional period, the draft
Bill provides that there shall be 16 ordinary Lords Spiritual;
for the second, 11; and for all subsequent electoral periods,
there shall be seven ordinary Lords Spiritual. These Lords Spiritual
will be selected by the Church of England in "whatever way
it considers appropriate", except that during transition
they must be drawn from the existing group of Lords Spiritual
prior to commencement of each transitional period. In subsequent
periods, they may be selected before or during the period in question.
After the two transitional periods, the Church of England may
select new ordinary Lords Spiritual to replace those who ceased
to be eligible for membership of the reformed House.
274. The Lords Spiritual, unlike the Lords Temporal,
are not Peers but Lords of Parliament. Their historic status means
that they sit in the reformed House on a different basis from
other members. Currently, bishops sit in the House of Lords by
virtue of their being serving office holders within the Church
of England. They attend as their episcopal duties allow and a
rota system ensures that there is always at least one bishop in
the House each day, to read prayers at the start of the day's
business. They are also subject to the Church's terms and conditions
on remuneration and discipline. The Government's White Paper and
draft Bill recognises that bishops would continue to sit in a
reformed House on a different basis and not as full time salaried
members. In the transitional period, and in a fully reformed chamber,
the Government proposes that bishops would not be entitled to
a salary or pension in the reformed House of Lords but would continue
to receive allowances set by IPSA; they would be exempt from the
tax deeming provision; they would be subject to the disqualification
provision; and they would not be subject to the serious offence
provision and those on expulsion and suspensionas it is
expected that such members would be subject to the disciplinary
procedures established by the Church of England.
BISHOPS: THE CASE FOR AND AGAINST
275. The Government's argument for retaining the
bishops in a hybrid House is that "there should continue
to be a role for the established Church".
In his evidence to us the Minister elaborated that "because
our proposal is for a mainly elected House with appointed Members,
we thought it sensible to keep a role for the established Church
in England given where we start from. I think that there is a
fair degree of consensus among other faiths that they want that
faith representation to continue, so that is why we have proposed
Minister went on to say that "It is for the Lords Spiritual
to make the case for remaining in the House of Lords".
276. The continued presence of bishops of the Church
of England received substantial support. The Archbishops of Canterbury
and York quoted a speech delivered by the Archbishop of York in
2007 which summed up their position as follows: "The Lords
Spiritual remind Parliament of the Queen's coronation oath and
of that occasion when the divine law was acknowledged as the source
of all law. We do not see ourselves as representatives, but as
connectors with the people and parishes of England. Ours is a
sacred trustto remind your Lordships' House of the common
law of this nation, in which true religion, virtue, morals and
law are always intermingled; they have never been separated".
The bishops, they went on to say, spoke for that substantial part
of civic society represented by the Church of England, other Christian
denominations and other faiths. The Lords Spiritual were increasingly
engaged in the day to day work of the House and its committees,
though as independent Lords of Parliament rather than as formal
"representatives of the Church of England" or a "Bishops
Party". They acted as a voice for all faiths and the presence
of the established Church in Parliament was valued by other faith
leaders. In his
oral evidence the Archbishop of Canterbury emphasised how bishops,
through their parishes, had "personal access to a very wide
spread of civil organisation and experienceperhaps wider
than is enjoyed by many comparable public figures. Their personal
contribution to the work of the House of Lords therefore draws
not on partisan policy but on that direct experience, as well
as engagement generally with questions of ethics, morality and
faith. Bishops know every church in their diocese. They know the
communities they serveand they serve far more people than
church attendance in a narrow sense represents".
277. Other faith leaderssignificantly from
the two other Abrahamic religionssupported these premises.
The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, argued that the House of Lords should
be a place for "covenantal conversations".
The Muslim Council of Britain opposed the reduction in the number
of bishops from 26 to 12 because it further reduced the "voice
for the spiritual and moral dimension in formulating new law or
influencing public policy".
Theos viewed the presence of the bishops as "ecclesiologically
and theologically appropriate to the Church of England, since
its place is founded both on the historical and symbolic link
between church and state, and on the substantive contribution
that the bishops have been able to make over time".
278. Other witnesses saw things differently. Professors
Simon Hix and Iain Mclean said the "position of bishops in
an elected House is anomalous, whether that House is 100 per cent
or 80 per cent elected" and that they would be "by far
the largest interest group among the non-elected members".
Some contended that reserved places were unfair on other churches
of the UK. Donald Shell said that the bishops' presence in the
House of Lords "is widely perceived as anomalous because
they represent one Church from only one of the four constituent
parts of the United Kingdom."
279. Others claimed it was unfair to reserve places
for only one religion. Professor Hugh Bochel and his colleagues
said that "in the contemporary world, including where there
are significant questions of representation and fairness, it appears
hard to defend such a proposition." They added "The
white paper does not provide any rationale for this, and again
it would seem to conflict with the fundamental democratic principle
which is claimed to underpin the reforms."
Similarly, Democratic Audit said the "proposed continued
presence of Anglican bishops in a reformed second chamber by implication
discriminates against other religious faiths, since no such provision
is made for themor indeed for individuals avowedly of no
Electoral Reform Society said it did not believe "it is acceptable
for one denomination to receive such representation" and
that reserved seats for the bishops should be removed.
The British Humanist Association and the National Secular Society
argued in favour of a secular state in opposing reserved seats
for Church of England bishops.
The All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group said that reserved
places for Bishops would "undermine the legitimacy of the
reform by reserving a set number of places for one branch of one
religion, all of whom would be men".
BISHOPS AND ESTABLISHMENT
280. A number of witnesses expressed views on the
connection between the presence of the bishops in the Lords and
the establishment of the Anglican Church in England. Donald Shell
put it clearly: "It is been argued that removing bishops
from the House is tantamount to disestablishing the Church of
England. But this is mistaken view". He argued that there
"are many different strands to 'Establishment' and these
have frequently been adjusted in the past; removing bishops from
the House would be a further such adjustment. There are many models
for an established church which can certainly continue to exist
without the presence of bishops in Parliament".
281. But a number of witnesses thought that while
the removal of the Lords Spiritual would not spell the immediate
end of the establishment of the Church of England, it would seriously
undermine it, call into question the future of the established
relationship and send a strong negative signal about the place
of Christianityand religion more generallyin British
public life. Thus the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote, "The
established status of the Church would not be at an end if the
Lords Spiritual no longer had a place in parliament but its character
would be significantly changed and weakened".
282. Others took this view. Sir Stuart Bell MP believed
that the "removal of Bishops by the creation of a wholly-elected
second chamber will be detrimental to the Church-State relationship,
shall weaken the established Church, and shall lead to further
calls for an ending to establishment".
Penny Mordaunt MP felt that removing the Lords Spiritual from
the House of Lords "would be an attack on the very heart
of the constitution".
The Bishop of Worcester (not a member of the House of Lords) wrote
that the complete removal of bishops "would also be likely
to trigger a wider debate about the future of Establishment and
send unhelpful signs about the place of religious voices in the
BISHOPS AND OTHER FAITHS
283. Irrespective of the continued presence of the
Church of England bishops, many witnesses spoke of the desirability
of having other faiths represented in the House too, ad personam
rather than ex officio.
There was also a presumption that the Appointments Commission
should see this as part of their remit.
Some argued for no specific faith representation.
284. Some witnesses addressed the difficulty in identifying
suitable representations from faiths with no priestly hierarchy.
 But the Muslim
Council of Britain countered this by saying that it would not
be difficult to identify suitable candidates, at least from the
main minority faith communities as identified in the National
Census (Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh): "... All
major religious communities have well developed national representative
bodies which can provide the link. MCB would be pleased to present
specific proposals in this regard for our community".
BISHOPS AND DISCIPLINARY PROVISIONS
285. As we have seen, the draft Bill exempts bishops
in the reformed House from the disciplinary provisions applicable
to other members, because bishops would be subject to the disciplinary
provisions of the Church of England. They would also be exempt
from the tax deeming provision that they are deemed to be ordinarily
resident and domiciled in the United Kingdom. But as the Archbishop
of Canterbury admitted to us in oral evidence "the number
of Lords spiritual who are building us vast tax fortunes in the
Cayman Islands is quite smallit may even be vanishingly
Archbishops of Canterbury and York maintained therefore "that
the Lords Spiritual should be subject to the same disqualification
provisions as other members of the reformed House of Lords"
and did not see the exemptions as necessary. "We did not
seek them and unless there are legal or constitutional reasons
of which we are not aware, we believe that the Lords Spiritual
should be in the same position as other members of the House on
THE NAMED BISHOPS
286. The Bill in its draft form prescribes five of
the twelve bishops who will eventually sit in a reformed House:
the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the Bishops of London,
Durham and Winchester. The other seven diocesan bishops are to
be chosen by the Church as "ordinary Lords Spiritual".
But with a reduction in the number of bishops, greater flexibility
might be afforded were there to be fewer "named" bishops
in the Bill. Indeed the Archbishop of Canterbury's written evidence
makes this very point, doubting "whether continuing with
the arrangement of five reserved places for the occupants of the
senior sees would still be right for a Bishop's Bench less than
half its former size". One possibility, wrote the Archbishop,
was for the named bishops to be confined to the two Archbishops
and the Bishop of Londonall of whom are Privy Counsellorsbut
the wider Church would need to come to a view before making representations
to the Government on this. 
287. The transitional arrangements for bishops provide
in Clause 28(4) of the draft Bill that a person can only be selected
as an ordinary Lords Spiritual for the first and second transitional
period if he was already a Lord Spiritual in the period preceding
it. In the event of the Church of England successfully promoting
a Measure to enable the ordination of women bishops, the Archbishop
of Canterbury argued that clause 28(4) would prevent the Church
from "fast-tracking" any women bishops into the House
of Lords, were any to be appointed. 
In his written evidence the Archbishop said that there was in
any event a case for giving the Church the broadest possible choice
from among its diocesan bishops" sooner than 2025. This would
require the removal of Clause 28(4) and clarification that Clause
28(1) referred to all diocesan bishops and not just existing Lords
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Committee agrees that, in a fully elected House, there should
be no reserved places for bishops.
289. The Committee
agrees, on a majority, that bishops should continue to retain
ex officio seats in the reformed House of Lords.
290. The Committee
agrees, on a majority, with the Government's proposal that the
number of reserved seats for bishops be set at 12 in a reformed
291. The Committee
recommends that the Appointments Commission consider faith as
part of the diversity criterion we recommend at paragraph 249.
292. The Committee
recommends that the exemption of bishops from the disciplinary
provisions be removed, as requested by the Archbishops.
293. The Committee
recommends that any approach to the Government by the Church to
modify the provision on the named bishops be looked upon favourably.
294. The Committee
recommends that Clause 28(4) be left out of the Bill so as to
allow greater flexibility in transition arrangements so that any
women bishops and the wider pool of diocesan bishops can be eligible
for appointment in the second transitional parliament.
304 Cm 8077, page 47 Back
Q 379; http://lordsappointments.independent.gov.uk Back
Unlock Democracy, Democratic Audit Back
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, Professor Gavin Phillipson, Professors
Simon Hix and Iain McLean , Lord Wright of Richmond et al. Back
Campaign for an Effective Second Chamber, Jonathan Boot, Christopher
Hartigan, Ken Batty, Sir Stuart Bell MP, Lord Higgins, Lord Luce,
Lord Cobbold, Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Peter Riddell,
Professor Sir John Baker QC Back
These provisions were removed from Lord Steel of Aikwood's Bill
during its report stage in the House of Lords. Back
Lord Howarth of Newport. See also Penny Mordaunt MP Back
Cm 8077, page 18 Back
Q 380 Back
Q 401 Back
Q 75 Back
Q 4 Back
Professor Gavin Phillipson Back
Q 352 Back
Q 571 Back
Pauline Latham MP Back
Lord Maclennan of Rogart Back
Archbishops of Canterbury and York Back
Sir Stuart Bell MP, Jonathan Boot, Christopher Hartigan, Michael
Keatinge OBE, Lord Lipsey, Ken Batty, The Bishop of Worcester,
Nadhim Zahawi MP, Lord Howarth of Newport, Joseph Corina, Dr Martin
Wright, Lord Rowe-Beddoe, Campaign for an Effective Second Chamber,
Lord Grenfell, Lord Low of Dalston, Jesse Norman MP, Lord Higgins,
James Hand, Professors Simon Hix and Iain McLean, Donald Shell,
Muslim Council of Britain, Professor Gavin Phillipson, Damien
Welfare and the Campaign for a Democratic Upper House, Cecilie
Rezutka, James Moore, Conor Burns MP Back
Q 81 Back
Lord Dubs , Unlock Democracy (Q 377) Back
Professor Hugh Bochel, Dr Andrew Defty, and Jane Kirkpatrick Back
Unlock Democracy Back
Professor Hugh Bochel at al., Electoral Reform Society, Liam Finn,
Lord McLennan of Rogart Back
Q 386 Back
Q 395 Back
Q 395 Back
David Le Grice. A similar approach was also taken by St Philip's
Lord Howarth of Newport Back
Hansard Society, Fawcett Society, Electoral Reform Society, Counting
Women In, Cecilie Rezutka Back
Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe Back
Theos, Archbishops of Canterbury and York. See also Cecilie Rezutka Back
Q 39 Back
Q 396 Back
Q 397 Back
Q 19 Back
Q 393 Back
Q 398 Back
Q 388. See also Unlock Democracy (Q 344) Back
David Howarth (Q 230), Professor Sir John Baker QC (Q 230), Dr
Alan Renwick (Q 201),Muslim Council of Britain Back
QQ 633, 636 Back
Q 757 Back
Q 758 Back
Cm 8077 Back
For example, Q 230 Back
Q 485 Back
Q 343 Back
Q 465 Back
As diocesan bishops, not in a specific see. Back
Cm 8077, page 23 Back
Cm 8077, page 22 Back
Q 35 Back
Q 40 Back
HL Deb col 580 Session 2006-07 Back
Archbishops of Canterbury and York Back
Q 428 Back
Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks Back
Muslim Council of Britain. See also Zoroastrian Trust Funds of
Professors Simon Hix and Iain McLean Back
Donald Shell. See also Lord Goodhart Back
Bochel, Dr Andrew Defty and Jane Kirkpatrick Back
Democratic Audit Back
Electoral Reform Society Back
British Humanist Association (Q 455), National Secular Society Back
All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group Back
Donald Shell Back
Archbishops of Canterbury and York. See also Q 443 Back
Sir Stuart Bell MP Back
Penny Mordaunt MP Back
The Bishop of Worcester Back
Jonathan Sacks, Zoroastrian Trust Funds, Law Society of Scotland,
Damien Welfare and the Campaign for a Democratic Upper House,
Archbishops of Canterbury and York Back
Professors Simon Hix and Iain McLean, Theos Back
Professor Dawn Oliver (Q 162), Democratic Audit, All-Party Parliamentary
Humanist Group, National Secular Society, Alice Onwordi Back
Mr Mark Harper MP (Q 35); National Secular Society Back
Muslim Council of Britain Back
Q 451 Back
Archbishops of Canterbury and York Back
Q 446 Back
Archbishops of Canterbury and York Back