Ask your MP to take action on religious bias in Parliament

The UK is more diverse than ever before and the pattern of religion is changing in the UK. In 1983 some 40% of British adults said they were Anglicans compared to 14% today, and 31% said they belonged to no religion compared to 52% currently according to the British Social Attitudes survey. However, unlike the devolved legislatures, the UK Parliament remains an overwhelmingly Christian institution. 


26 Church of England bishops receive automatic seats in the House of Lords. Parliamentary business begins each day with Anglican prayers. The speaker of the House of Commons has to appoint a Church of England chaplain. Parliament governs the church through its approval of Church measures, through the ecclesiastical committee and through questions in the House of Commons, giving up valuable parliamentary time to one particular religious denomination. 

These arrangements in themselves mean Parliament has not kept pace with the changing reality of the UK. But the problems don’t stop there. The 26 bishops don’t just speak and vote on legislation, sometimes changing the outcome of votes, but they also have privileged speaking and seating rights over other peers – when a bishop wants to speak from the bishops bench, others are expected to give way. Those who attend prayers are also able to stay in their seats for any subsequent debate. By attending prayers, MPs are able to reserve a seat for the rest of the day. With around 425 seats in each chamber, compared with 650 MPs and 825 peers, this can have a significant impact when it comes to being able to speak in the most popular debates. All of this makes Parliament unrepresentative of the people. 

Help us to call for action by asking your MP to sign our joint letters on removing religious bias in Parliament and making it inclusive for all.

It’s vital that we get as many MPs to sign our letters as possible to create a bigger impact. Please, take five minutes to ask your MP to sign our letters

You’ll find a default model letter that we highly recommend you take a few minutes to personalise as MPs are more likely to take notice of personalised emails and queries. 

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