In an ancient ceremony dating back to the formation of the House of Lords, The Right Reverend Paul Roger Butler, Bishop of Durham will be introduced to the House of Lords on Monday 3rd March 2014 at 2.30pm.
The introduction ceremony must take place in the Lords Chamber before each new Member is able to take their seat in the House. During the ceremony, the Bishop will either swear or solemnly affirm his allegiance to the Queen; he will also sign an undertaking to abide by the House of Lords Code of Conduct. The ceremony which signifies the right of the Bishop of Durham to take his seat in the House of Lords as a Lord Spiritual will see the Bishop lead by his supporters the other Lords Spirituals in their clerical vestments in procession through the chamber where the ceremony takes place. Bishop Paul said: “I am delighted to be being introduced to the House, it is a great honour. It will give me a chance to raise important North East issues on a national stage and to be an advocate for the region along with championing the causes of social injustice, poverty and personal hardship in communities across the Diocese and the wider region.” Bishop Paul’s maiden speech will be made in due course for which a separate press release will be issued after he has risen and spoken in the chamber. A date for this is not yet confirmed.
Details of the Introduction
The procession, with the junior supporter in front and the senior supporter behind the Bishop, arrives in front of the Table of the House. The new member then submits his writ of summons, which is read by a Clerk. The Clerk then administers the Oath or Solemn Affirmation. Then, the procession progresses to the Woolsack, where the new Bishop shakes hands with the Lord Speaker. Then, instead of leaving the Chamber, the new member and his supporters immediately take seats on the Bishops’ Benches. (Archbishops and Bishops do not sit with any particular party, though the two Bishops’ Benches are on the same side of the Chamber as the seats for members of the Government party.)