Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015

Taking less than a minute, Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill passed its third reading in the House of Lords, thereby completing the last of its parliamentary stages. It now awaits Royal Assent and will come into force “on the day Parliament first meets following the first parliamentary general election after this Act is passed”.

Hansard recorded, 12 Mar 2015 Vol 760(117) Column 772

Lords Spiritual (Women) Bill

Third Reading

12.09 pm


Moved by Lord Faulks

That the Bill do now pass.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): My Lords, with this Motion I should like to thank all those noble Lords who have spoken during the course of the Bill, or otherwise provided support throughout its passage. I extend particular thanks to the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Leicester, as well as to all parties for their support. In particular, I thank the Bill team for its help.

Bill passed.


Our analysis of the Bill was made after its introduction to the Commons on 18 December last year; however, it was not subject to changes in either House. A copy of the Bill as brought from the Commons is available here, and the Explanatory Notes here. The date of the General Election is set by Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 and will be 7 May 2015, although that of the return of Parliament is yet to be announced.

However, with regard to “the day Parliament first meets following the first parliamentary general election”, Frank provides the following clarification: intuitively, it might be assumed that this must be the day of the State Opening: meetings to swear (of which there are usually three or four) are in advance of the State Opening and no business other than swearing may be transacted at them. However, the first entry in the House of Commons Journal of the present Parliament reads as follows [emphasis added]:

“No. 1

Tuesday 18 May 2010

The House met at 2.30 pm.

1. Meeting of the House

The House met on the first day of this Parliament, pursuant to Proclamation.”

Thus it appears that the Act comes into force on the first swearing day. [See Simon Kershaw’s comment below]

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015" in Law & Religion UK, 13 March 2015, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2015/03/13/lords-spiritual-women-act-2015/

3 thoughts on “Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015

  1. I was just reading (as one does) the text of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011. Section 3.4 provides that:

    “4. Once Parliament dissolves, Her Majesty may issue the proclamation summoning the new Parliament which may—
    “a. appoint the day for the first meeting of the new Parliament;
    “b. deal with any other matter which was normally dealt with before the passing of this Act by proclamations summoning new Parliaments (except a matter dealt with by subsection (1) or (3)).”

    So the date of first meeting is laid down in the Royal Proclamation summoning the new Parliament. No doubt that is also the day on which the swearing-in begins. as you have surmised. But it does have a legal definition too.

  2. Pingback: Asociación para la Defensa de la Libertad Religiosa » Titulares Internacionales de Libertad Religiosa del 13 Marzo 2015

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