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Sentamu will get his peerage, government sources say

20 October 2020

Church of England

THE former Archbishop of York Dr Sentamu will be made a life peer in the House of Lords, it has been confirmed. The timing of his appointment is now with the Prime Minister’s office.

At a lobby briefing this week, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that the process for Dr Sentamu’s nomination was “well under way”.

‘Well, that would explain the lack of room’

There has been growing anger that the UK’s first black archbishop was not granted a life peerage in Queen’s Birthday Honours list (News, 12 October). Altogether, 36 new peers were announced this summer, including the Prime Minister’s brother, Jo Johnson, and the former cricketer Ian Botham. Although being an archbishop does not confer an automatic right to a peerage on retirement, Archbishops David Hope, George Carey, and Rowan Williams were all made life peers.

Dr Sentamu’s successor at York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, posted on Twitter just before his enthronement at on Sunday: “Disturbed to find out today that whether it be through negligence or intent my predecessor +Sentamu has not been given the peerage that has been the custom for many years.”

Speaking in the House of Lords during the Internal Markets Bill on Monday, the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “My distinguished former colleague Sentamu, who paid with beating for his defence of law and justice in Uganda, would have spoken trenchantly. I regret his absence.”

Dr Sentamu, who retired in June, was told that he was being considered for a peerage at the end of that month. A month later, however, he was informed that he had missed out.

A spokesman for 10 Downing Street reportedly told The Sunday Times that Dr Sentamu was kept off the list to keep the numbers in the Lords down, a reason that has been ridiculed. It has subsequently emerged that the appointment was delayed because of the ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), amid concerns that he might be criticised in its report.

Now that the report has been published (News, 6 October), the House of Lords Appointments Commission has given the green light for Dr Sentamu to be given a peerage.

He will be included in the next round of peerages, which would normally be the New Year Honours list. A spokeswoman for the Commission said on Tuesday, however, that individuals could be appointed to peerages at other times. The timing was now “down to Number 10”.

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