Over the course of two Parliamentary debates, the Government’s proposals to retain Church of England bishops in the legislature came under sustained attack. What’s more, within hours of the Bill’s introduction, an amendment to remove the bishops had been tabled by Chris Bryant MP.
In the wake of these debates, the Government had intended 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. However, in the face of a substantial backbench rebellion, the Motion was withdrawn at last minute.
The prospect of reform is not gone however, just delayed a bit. The Government will still introduce a Programme Motion, though it will 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.
We need to keep up the pressure though. Click here to email your MP and Nick Clegg, reminding them of the sheer scale of popular and parliamentary opposition to the Lords Spiritual and asking them to support Chris Bryant’s amendment.