Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill

Commentary on provisions of Bill

Clause 1: Vacancies among the Lords Spiritual

7. Clause 1 applies where there is a vacancy among the Lords Spiritual other than a vacancy in connection with one of the five senior ex officio sees. If at that time there is an eligible female bishop - which is to say a bishop of a diocese in England, who is not already entitled as such to a writ of summons, and who is a woman - the vacancy is to be filled by the issue of a writ of summons to her and she will be entitled to a writ in subsequent Parliaments until she ceases to be a diocesan bishop or is appointed to one of the five ex officio sees. If there is more than one eligible female bishop then the one whose election as a bishop of a diocese was confirmed first will receive the writ (this reflects the arrangements under the Bishoprics Act 1878 for determining seniority of precedence). If there is no eligible female bishop the most senior male bishop will become a member of the House of Lords under the 1878 Act. The clause is time-limited and the mechanism it provides for will end 10 years after the Bill comes into force.