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Life peerage announced for Dr Sentamu

22 December 2020

Sam Atkins/Church Times

Dr Sentamu addressing the General Synod in 2019

Dr Sentamu addressing the General Synod in 2019

OFFICIAL confirmation of a peerage for the former Archbishop of York Dr Sentamu has finally been given.

The Archbishop’s name was among the crossbench nominations announced from Downing Street on Tuesday, when it was stated that “The Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention of conferring the following Peerages of the United Kingdom for Life.”

Retiring Archbishops are customarily given a life peerage; so there was consternation earlier in the year when Dr Sentamu, the UK’s first black archbishop, who retired in June, was passed over in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list (News, 20 October).

Dr Sentamu’s successor at York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, wondered whether it was “negligence or intent”. The Archbishop of Canterbury said that he regretted Dr Sentamu’s absence from the House of Lords.

Although 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, it emerged that the appointment was delayed because of fears that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which was then pending, might include criticism of the former Archbishop. (Just this week, one of his predecessors, Lord Habgood, was accused of missing red flags in the case of abuse by the Ven. George Granville Gibson.)

The other life peerages announced at the same time are for Sir Richard Benyon, Peter Cruddas, Dame Jacqueline Foster, Stephanie Fraser, Dean Godson, Daniel Hannan, Syed Kamall (Conservative nominations); Cllr Judith Blake CBE, Jennifer Chapman, Vernon Coaker, Wajid Khan, Gillian Merron (Labour nominations), and Sir Terence Etherton QC, Sir Simon McDonald KCMG KCVO, and Sir Andrew Parker KCB (crossbenchers).

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