REPRESENTATIVES OF Britain’s major faiths should have seats in a reformed House of Lords alongside Anglican bishops, according to a parliamentary report published this week.
The idea of including religious figures was backed by Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, who submitted written evidence to the committee.
While the Church of England, as the established Church, should take most of the religious seats, the Chief Rabbi argued, the Lords should include a broader Christian representation as well as from other faiths.
“Minorities should be represented among the Lords Spiritual as faith communities, not as ethnic groups,” he wrote.
But their representatives should be chosen “ad personam, not ex officio”, that is, on their personal merits, not by virtue of communal office.
Rabbi Laura Janner-klausner, rabbinic spokesman for the Reform movement, said a reformed Lords “should reflect the diversity of our nation.
“We know that the United Synagogue’s Chief Rabbi is not representative of the whole Jewish community. If he were to be in the House of Lords ex officio, then this would quickly become anachronistic if current community demographic trends continue, leading to the Progressive movements becoming larger than the United Synagogue.”
According to the latest Jewish Year Book, there are 67 Jewish peers, including Baroness Neuberger, originally a Libdem peer who moved to the crossbenches after becoming senior rabbi of West London Synagogue last year.