From Dr Phillip Rice
Sir, - "The Equality Act 2010 (the Act) affects party
politicians, public servants as well as church synods." I have
occasion to look for jobs as a political adviser in research. That
is to seek employment in a restricted class as offering advice to
The job advertisements for Conservative and Labour effectively
test, and so exclude, non-Conservative and non-Labour respectively.
The adverts each have a slightly differently worded formula for
exclusion, one for Conservative and for Labour. This is legal under
the Act. So politicians have their own carve-out for good
As a member of the General Synod, somewhere in the middle of the
debate on women in the episcopate, I am struck by the part that the
Act is playing. There are about 600 pages of Act and Code of
Conduct to consider with simple legislation and related other
special cases. It strikes me that the principle of protection for
party politicians serves as a model for protection in legislation
sought by traditionalists, Evangelical or Catholic, who would want
their "reasonable exclusions" to be enshrined in canon law.
Surely this is a material point: what is good for
party-political interests can justify in a principled way what is
good for this Synod's deliberations on women in the episcopate.
23 Christchurch Square
London E9 7HU