The Bishop of Lincoln has welcomed the announcement of a bill which, if passed, will fast-track new women diocesan bishops in the House of Lords ahead of waiting bishops, irrespective of the current order of seniority.
The senior figures of the established church, the two Church of England Archbishops and 24 of its other diocesan bishops in order of seniority, are required to sit in the House of Lords as the Lords Spiritual.
And with the appointment of the first female diocesan bishops expected in 2015, the new law would put in place the process of ensuring, as quickly as possible, fair representation of women on the benches of the House of Lords.
Currently the Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, is the most senior bishop awaiting a “writ of summons”.
This is the formal demand to take a seat in the House of Lords.
The new law could see that moved back indefinitely from July 2015, depending on how many women are made diocesan bishops.
The Rt Revd Christopher Lowson said: “On the one hand, this is quite frustrating, because greater Lincolnshire is under-represented in the House of Lords and I saw this as an excellent opportunity to raise in the highest national stage the issues which, as a Diocese and a community, we are facing in trying to make our part of the country a better place for everyone.”
“That representation may now have to wait some time.”
“However, far more frustrating has been the wait for women to be able to be ordained bishop, and for an anachronism to be consigned to history.”
“For that to happen completely, it is absolutely right that women bishops are fully represented in all levels of society, parliament and the Church, and I look forward very much to seeing that happen.”