Since the last reform of spiritual peers in 1847, there have been 26 bishops in the House of Lords. 166 years later, this has now become an anachronism. And also it is an absurdly inflated number at a time when there are too many peers. A very minor point is that it is also an  unnecessary expense.  In one year the Bishop of Chester claimed £27,600 in attendance allowances, and £4,220  in expenses.

The excess of bishops in the Lords is nor an urgent problem, because it is rare than many of them sit on the same day; but it is a touch-on-the-tiller reform that would be widely approved, and would make the House of Lord less archaic.

The number of 26 bishops was chosen when a large proportion of the population went every week to Church of England services.  Now only a negligible number do so, and proportionately less than other Christian churches.  And in our multicultural society, this preponderance of Anglican bishops seems irrelevant and unfair.

A reduction in bishops would also reduce their tradition of attempting to block reform. Perhaps the most egregious example was their unanimous vote against the abolition of slavery in the 19th Century. More recently several bishops sponsored an amendment that defeated a government bill to reform the benefit system. The reform proposed setting a cap of £26,000 on benefits.

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