The Archbishop infringes the rules….

The House held a debate yesterday on the role of partnerships between government and civil society in shaping social policy.  Introduced by the Bishop of Leioester, it attracted some notable contributions from the Lords Spiritual: five of them spoke in the debate, including the Archbishop of Canterbury.  The Archbishop stood, appropriately bathed in sunlight, and gave a short speech.  He also managed to break one of the important conventions of the House. 

Those who speak in debates are expected to be present for the opening and concluding speeches as well as for the speeches preceding and following their own.  The Archbishop said in opening “I must begin with an apology to your Lordships for the fact that an inflexible diary means that I must infringe the conventions of the House by not being able to guarantee that I shall be here at the end of the debate.  I am sorry for that but I wish to be here to support my right reverend brother and to congratulate him on securing this important debate, and I am eager to hear the maiden speech of the noble  Lord, Lord Wei.”  Given that both aims could be achieved without speaking in the debate, it is not clear why he risked breaking the convention, which indeed he did – he was not present for the closing speeches. 

Failure to be present attracts a black mark.   It gets noticed and on the other benches would, I gather, normally attract a word or letter from the Chief Whip or convenor.  I’m not sure if someone on the Bishops’ Bench will be having a word with their leader!

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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13 Responses to The Archbishop infringes the rules….

  1. Len says:

    Talking of infringements of the rules and conventions of the House, I read this from Lord Harris of Haringey the other day – can I ask what your perspective was on this?

    • Lord Norton says:

      Len: On the three consecutive days in committee, there appears to have been some confusion, with each side believing the other to be responsible for the situation. In the event, agrrement has been reached, with two days in committee this week and one next week. Each side seems content. On the preference during Question Time, I did not see that, but we now seem to have got into a clear routine, with if anything less problems than before – but I had better not tempt fate.

  2. ladytizzy says:

    Sorry to trouble you here but none of my recent comments on LotB have being published. Would you ask someone to contact me, in order to track what and where this problem is?

    Many thanks!

    • Lord Norton says:

      ladytizzy: I will check what has happened on LotB. It may be that your comments have gone into spam. They certainly haven’t been appearing in the normal comments section and then been ignored! I normally do the moderation, so I would have noticed, but I don’t always look at the spam section. The system appears on rare occasions to filter some of the comments of regular readers to the spam section.

      • Lord Norton says:

        ladytizzy: I’ve now been through all the comments (and spam) on LoTB and – as you will see – your latest comment arrived and I have moderated that, but none of your earlier comments appear anywhere on the system. Given Croft’s comments below, there seem to be technical problems. We didn’t have these problems before we modernised the site!

    • Croft says:

      I’m seeing loads of old postings on the front page of lotb eg

      “The bad news…
      April 12, 2010”

      “Parenting support on the internet
      April 7, 2010 ”

      I think someone has pushed the wrong button on the server 🙂

      I suppose the only person who can remonstrate with the AB would be the Speaker or perhaps the Leader of the House. Perhaps Lady Hayman might like to stand up for the house.

      • Lord Norton says:

        Croft: The old postings aren’t showing when I log on. How weird. We seem to be having some technical problems on LoTB. Thank heaven for the staightforwardness of this site! (Then again, better not tempt fate.) On the Archbishop, it may be the role of the Leader of the House to have a quiet word, though the Lords Spiritual do have what amounts to their own convenor.

  3. ladytizzy says:

    Many thanks, Lord Norton, for your help. Beccy was in touch earlier on, saying much the same as you. It has been a trying time since the ‘upgrade’ and purdah coincided but it’ll get sorted, I’m sure. It must be as frustrating for the bloggers who are wondering why fewer comments are getting through!

    As you say, it’s so much easier here

  4. Liam says:

    That’s an odd problem, Lords of the Blog and The Norton View run on WordPress (the software, not the site 🙂 ), so any problems experienced should be roughly the same on both sites.

    Having said that, WordPress 3.0 came out recently, so it may have been upgrading to that which caused the hiccup. That’s pure speculation, of course.

    Do you ever post links in your comments ladytizzy? I often get comments blocked for that reason. You’ll probably have noticed that if a comment has been marked as spam it just disappears when submitted, instead of showing up with the usual ‘waiting for moderation’ message (can’t remember the exact wording). When that happens I usually just post another comment on the blog straight away, asking the owner to dig through their spam.

    There are more technical hurdles to running your own blog than one on, however there are plenty of benefits too. If there’s any more of this ‘blog platform conservatism’ from Lord Norton I may be forced to enumerate them, which I assure you will be very boring for all concerned. You have been warned. 🙂

    • ladytizzy says:

      Thanks Liam, I have already noted, experienced, and accept the problem here of more than one link in a comment! The prob I’m having is more crafty in that it isn’t clear at what exact point my comments are being stopped.

      We’re all working together on this and I’m open-minded but I would be double-checking at how LotB is looking at the various combinations of operating systems and interfaces etc.

  5. macarthursmutterings says:

    can this not be used as ammunition to get rid of the Bishops form the House? Please Lord let it be so….

  6. macarthursmutterings says:


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