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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 July 2005, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
The Lords Spiritual

The terror attacks in London have prompted some argument about the relationship between religion and politics.

Bishops roping in the House of Lords
Twenty four bishops and two Archbishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords

In Britain, the state is married to the official church. Unlike other Western democracies, the United Kingdom enshrines a place for religion at the heart of the legislature.

Some bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords with the right to sit on select committees, speak in debate and vote on legislation.

Is that an appropriate role for them in the governance of a country of many faiths and none? Will they keep their seats on the claret benches during the next round of reform of the Lords? And how do the bishops themselves see their future?

Andrew Brown has called his investigation "Lords Spiritual."

One of the less talked about lines in the Labour manifesto at the last general election was a commitment to continue reform of the House of Lords.

So, at a time when the multi-faith make up of Britain is given much more prominence, what might reform mean for the Lords Spiritual?

Lords Spiritual - part one

Lords Spiritual - part two

Sunday Supplements in 2005
15 Jun 05 |  The Westminster Hour



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