House of Lords Library

House of Lords: Religious Representation

Published Friday, November 25, 2011

This Library Note considers the current role of the Bishops in the House of Lords, and religious representation in the House generally in the context of the Government’s proposals for reform.

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The membership of the House of Lords includes twenty six Church of England Bishops and Archbishops on an ex officio basis, their right to sit and vote in the House established by ancient usage and by statute. This Library Note provides background information on the role of Bishops in the second chamber, and in the context of the Government’s proposals for reform of the House, it examines arguments made both in favour and against their continued membership. The Note then considers further issues arising from the Government’s proposals, as well as arguments made regarding the formal representation of other denominations or faiths in Parliament.

Lords Library notes LLN-2011-036

Author: Matthew Purvis

Topics: House of Lords, Members of the Lords, Religion and faith communities

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House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.