Thursday, 2 August 2012

BHA: Ask Your MP To Support Amendments To Remove Bishops From The Lords

Please email your MP and Nick Clegg to urge them to support new amendments to the House of Lords Reform Bill to remove Bishops from Parliament:

Last month, over two days of Parliamentary debate on Lords reform, the Government’s proposals to retain Church of England Bishops in the legislature came under sustained attack. In all, around one in every five speakers made reference to ending the role of the Lords Spiritual in a reformed House. What’s more, within hours of the Bill’s introduction, amendments to remove the Bishops had been tabled by Chris Bryant MP (Rhondda).

In the wake of these debates, the Government’s original intention was to hold a vote on a Programme Motion. This would have limited Parliament’s debating time to a dozen days, ensuring the Bill passed swiftly and did not succumb to filibustering. However, in the face of a substantial backbench Conservative rebellion, the Motion was withdrawn at last minute.

The Government still intends to introduce a Programme Motion, however it will now attempt to do so when Parliament returns in the autumn. In the meantime, ministers will be meeting with parliamentarians of all hues seeking concessions which might guarantee the Bill support in the Commons.

Thanks to the thousands of messages emailed to MPs through our website and the strong objections voiced in Parliament, the unjust privilege afforded to Church of England Bishops is now firmly among the leading issues of Lords Reform. If we are to gain concessions over the Lords Spiritual however, it is crucial that we maintain the pressure on MPs and Cabinet Ministers.

Using our quick and easy online facility, in a matter of a few clicks you can email your MP and Nick Clegg, drawing their attention to the sheer scale of the popular and political opposition to the Lords Spiritual. Our standard letter further asks them to support the amendments tabled by Chris Bryant MP which would help to secure equitable and fair reform of the House of Lords. So if you have written before about this, prior to the amendments being tabled. please now write again.

Many thanks for all the support you have shown so far on this crucial issue – it might well be the case that one last push is all we need!

Best wishes,

Pavan Dhaliwal
Head of Public Affairs, British Humanist Association