From Canon Edward Turner
Sir, - I was interested to read your report of the Archbishop of
Canterbury's speech in the Lords about women bishops and his
proposal to fast-track them into membership of that House (News,
To make such a change in the current arrangement, however, would
also provide the opportunity for a more radical development, given
that so few bishops are able to contribute their time or expertise,
for obvious reasons (apart from taking prayers in the usual
With such heavy commitments in their dioceses and beyond, only a
few bishops, I have noticed, are present to speak and vote on
important Bills - the Equality Bill in 2010, for example - with the
result that their influence is reduced accordingly.
In view of this, and while I fully support bishops' sitting in
the House of Lords, I suggest that it should be possible for a
bishop to opt out of such duty and service when his or her name is
added to the list, so enabling those bishops of either sex who are
able to serve to enter the Lords at an earlier date.
I very much hope that the Archbishop of Canterbury will
seriously consider this small but significant change, which would
go some way to meeting the concerns I have, and those of my former
mentor, David Say, that great bishop and parliamentarian, who often
discussed this problem with me.
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