Lords Reform and the Bishops

Today, the Lord Speaker’s committee on the size of the House of Lords recommended that the House be reduced to 600 Members, and its size capped at that number, in a move that would – for the first time in history – establish a maximum size of the House of Lords and link its composition to general election results. The committee believe this system, which is driven by the House’s desire to reduce its numbers, would result Continue reading

The House of Lords and “religious literacy”

In a brief exchange in the House of Lords this morning, Lord Singh of Wimbledon (CB) asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to combat religious extremism and to promote a cohesive society by enhancing religious literacy at all levels of government”.

The Minister of State at the Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con) replied: “My Lords, the Government are challenging all forms of extremism through our counter-extremism and Prevent programmes. We are working closely with faith groups to understand the impact of policies and to improve religious literacy in government. The Home Secretary and the Communities Secretary hosted a round table for representatives of all faiths last November”. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 2nd October

A week in which IICSA seemed in crisis yet again, another burkini ban was slapped down and the size of the House of Lords came under fire …

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The woes of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse seem to continue undiminished. On 28 September it was announced, and confirmed on 29 September, that the senior member of the Inquiry’s legal team, Ben Emmerson QC of Matrix Chambers, had been suspended from duty; and on the following day he resigned from the role of Counsel to the Inquiry. At the same time, it came to light that Elizabeth Prochaska, Emmerson’s immediate deputy, had already resigned. The BBC reported her as saying:

“I can confirm that after 15 months working on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, I resigned from my position as Junior Counsel with effect from 15 September 2016. I very much valued the experience of working with the Inquiry and I wish all my former colleagues the best as they continue their work.”

In a letter to the Chair on 29 September, Mr Emmerson notified Professor Jay of his resignation and  Continue reading

A Lady Spiritual?

Not a lot to do with law & religion, but nevertheless…

From Monday’s Lords Hansard:

Introduction: The Lord Bishop of Gloucester

2.49 pm

Rachel, Lord Bishop of Gloucester, was introduced and took the oath, supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London, and signed an undertaking to abide by the Code of Conduct.

Baroness Northover tabled a perfectly understandable question to the Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Stowell of Bestow: “What discussions she has had with relevant authorities regarding a gender specific title for the first woman bishop to be introduced into the House of Lords, currently described as the Lord Bishop of Gloucester” [HL2684]. To which Baroness Stowell  replied:

“Following discussions between the Church of England and the Crown Office, it has been agreed that ‘The Lord Bishop’ will continue to be the appropriate designation for all Bishops in the House of Lords.”

In matters like this, institutions can sometimes be quite slow to change. Continue reading