March 15, 2010

Bishops urged to step down from House of Lords

by David Masters

Seven in ten Christians believe it is wrong that some Church of England bishops are given automatic seats in the House of Lords, new research has discovered.

The poll, conducted by ICM on behalf of Power2010, also found that two thirds (65%) of Brits believe that anyone who sits in the House of Lords should be elected.

Pam Giddy, director of Power2010, said: “The House of Lords is a symbol of just how antiquated and out-of-date our constitution is.

“As this poll clearly shows, the public want a fully elected second chamber – one without appointed cronies, aristocrats who have inherited the right to rule, or Bishops who are automatically given their seats.”

The results of the research come after more than 50,000 voters sent letters to Church of England bishops asking them to back House of Lords reform.

The letter sending campaign, organised by Power2010, has received support from a wide range of Christian and non-religious groups, including Ekklesia, the Student Christian Movement, and the British Humanist Association.

Power2010, whose original target for the number of letters to be sent was 10,000, said it was “amazed” at the response to its campaign.

Jonathan Bartley, co-director of Ekklesia, added: “As far as both the wider population and those who self-identify as Christians are concerned, the time is up on reserved places for bishops in the House of Lords.”

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