Editorial: The bishops in the House of Lords are the least of the problem

After the collapse of the Liberal Democrats’ proposals for House of Lords reform last year, some new impetus is certainly needed

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Frank Field has some interesting ideas about the bishops in the House of Lords. As he rightly notes, the voting record of the 16 incumbents is woeful. Perhaps the new Archbishop of Canterbury could put his appetite for political influence to work with a reshuffle, replacing the most lethargic with others – perhaps not even from within the Church – who will play a more active role. Better still, Mr Field suggests that such a move might be the basis of further, more radical, reform of the second chamber.

After the collapse of the Liberal Democrats’ proposals last year, some new impetus is certainly needed. But a tweak in the line-up of our clerical lawmakers is still just tinkering around the edges. It is the 90-odd people who legislate on the basis of birth alone who are the more egregious travesty of our supposed democracy. It is the ending of that inexcusable anachronism that must be the priority.

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