Established by ancient tradition, the House of Lords has an important role in scrutinising and improving draft legislation. The Government is committed to ensuring that the House of Lords continues to fulfil its constitutional role as a revising and scrutinising chamber which respects the unquestioned primacy of the House of Commons.
As a revising chamber, made up of peers with a wide variety of experience, the House of Lords plays an important role in Parliament. Our political system has benefited from the expertise of peers who have been able to scrutinise and improve legislation.
I have been contacted by a number of constituents about the right of the 26 Church of England Archbishops and Bishops to sit as the “Lords Spiritual”, I believe their continuing place in the Lords reflects our enduring constitutional arrangement with an established Church of England and its Supreme Governor as Monarch and Head of State.
Fundamentally, this relationship between the Crown, Parliament and the Church has evolved over centuries and is the bedrock of our enduring constitutional settlement.
Experience has proven the Lords Spiritual bring an important independent voice and spiritual insight to the work of the Upper House and, while they make no claims to direct representation, seek to be a voice for all people of faith, not just Christians. Their personal contribution to the work of the House of Lords draws on direct experience, as well as engagement generally with questions of ethics, morality, and faith. Therefore, amongst the turbulence of partisan politics, I believe their impartial insight provides a welcome reprieve and a unique voice in our legislative process.
Ultimately, I believe the current system strikes the right balance between ensuring our parliamentary democracy is representative and the best value for the country, as well as a system which welcomes the expertise and wisdom of peers from all areas of public life.
Nevertheless, I assure constituents that I remain amenable to supporting further constitutional reforms when desirable and practical. For instance, I am pleased to support the Hereditary Titles (Female Succession) Bill which seeks to abolish the principle of male primogeniture for hereditary peers in the House of Lords.