On Monday 19 January the Government intends to debate all stages of The Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill in the House of Commons. This Bill will ensure that, for the next ten years, female Diocesan bishops will go to the front of the seniority queue and enter the House of Lords earlier than would otherwise be the case. If we continue with normal practice no woman would enter the Lords as a bishop for at least five years, as there is already a long list of male diocesan bishops in waiting. This is a Government Bill, not a Church one, and all major parties have indicated their support. There is significant time pressure to get the Bill passed before the General Election, as there is no guarantee that the next Government, whoever it might be, will want to sponsor such a Bill, because its contents cross over with issues around reforming the House of Lords.
The debate will take place either late afternoon or early evening of 19th January. If the Bill receives a smooth passage it will enable the Lords to consider it in late January or early February.
Please would contact your MP this week to ask her or him to support this important piece of legislation by speaking and/or voting in favour. It is vital that our MPs know there is strong support across the country so that the Bill is passed as soon as possible. This will enable it to go to the Lords without hindrance.
To follow the progress of the Bill, you can go to the parliament website
You can find the name of your constituency MP here.
See below for possible wording for you to use, but putting your views in your own words is usually a better approach if you can.
The WATCH Parliamentary Task Force (WPTF) would appreciate being copied into any reply you receive from your MP. Please send to: [email protected]
Letter to Constituency MP
The Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill
I welcome the news that the above Bill is being debated in the Commons on Monday 19 January and that if the Bill receives a smooth passage and is passed it will expedite the introduction of female bishops into the House of Lords.
I am writing to ask you if you will show your support for the Bill by attending the debate and by speaking and voting in favour so that it will proceed to the House of Lords as soon as possible.
Like so many in the Church and others across the country, I look forward to seeing female bishops in the Lords ensuring a more inclusive bench of bishops.
With many thanks and good wishes