Nia Griffith MP spoke up this week in the parliamentary debate on the House of Lords, calling on the government to go further than an 80% elected second chamber to a fully 100% elected chamber, and opposing the government’s proposals to retain reserved places for bishops of the Church of England in the new chamber.
“The bishops are not representative of all Christians in the UK, never mind those of different faiths or no faith at all. The Church of England is not the established Church of the United Kingdom. The Church in Wales was disestablished in 1920, in Northern Ireland there has not been an established Church since 1871 and the Church of Scotland Act 1921 acknowledged that the Kirk had never been the established Church of Scotland and so could not be disestablished. Many countries specifically separate Church and state, even countries with a clearly dominant religion, such as Italy or Spain. Furthermore the Church of England still does not allow women to be bishops.
I oppose reserving the 12 places for bishops of the Church of England in the second Chamber because it is not the established Church of the whole UK, because the appointment of bishops does not conform to the spirit of equality legislation and because it is high time that we separated Church and state.”
See full text of Nia’s speech at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm120710/debtext/120710-0004.htm#12071094000120