Did you know that 26 bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords?
The Lords Spiritual is comprised of the five most senior prelates (the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester). The other 21 Lords Spiritual are the longest serving bishops within the Church of England.
Lords Spiritual are not meant to show any form of political partisanship and do not have party affiliation. They take their seats on the Government side of the Lords Chamber and are supposed to act in a similar way to independent crossbenchers. Indeed, the only benches in the House with arms are the ones occupied by the Lords Spiritual, which are used to distinguish them from supporters of the Government.
There is always a Lord Spiritual present in the House of Lords when it is sitting, to read prayers at the start of the day and to participate in the business of the House.
Their presence in the Lords is seen as an extension of their general vocation as bishops to preach God’s word and to lead people in prayer. It is argued that bishops provide an important independent voice and spiritual insight to the work of the Upper House.