No women Bishops, no automatic seats in the House of Lords
Responsible department: Cabinet Office
The Church of England on 20th Nov 2012 voted not to allow women to be Bishops. Though that is within its rights to do, this should worry the Government as Church of England Bishops are awarded legislative power through seats in the House of Lords.
The Church has chosen to be a sexist organisation by refusing women the right to hold highest leadership positions and therefore should not be allowed automatic seats in the House of Lords, as this clearly does not comply with the spirit of UK Equality law.
We call on the Govt to remove the right of the Church of England to have automatic seats in the House of Lords, in line with its commitments to equality and non-discrimination, set out in the Equality Act (2010) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979)"
This e-petition has received the following response:
As this e-petition has received more than 10 000 signatures, the relevant Government department have provided the following response:
The Government is committed to the Church of England as the Established Church in England, with the Sovereign as its Supreme Governor. We consider that the relationship between Church and State in England is an important part of the constitutional framework that has evolved over centuries.
The Government believes that the second chamber should be more representative of the British people, which is why we introduced the House of Lords Reform Bill; however, the Bill was subsequently withdrawn when it became clear that it could not make progress without consuming an unacceptable amount of parliamentary time. While there continues to be an appointed element to the membership of the House of Lords, the Government believes there should continue to be a role for the Established Church.
It is for the Church itself to decide whether it will appoint women Bishops and, if so, what arrangements are necessary to support those who cannot accept this change, but it is obviously disappointing that the Synod was unable to agree how to take this forward. The Government believes that the time is right for women Bishops – indeed it is long overdue.
This e-petition will remain open to signatures until the published closing date and will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee should it pass the 100 000 signature threshold.
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