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UK News

Newest bishop in House of Lords defends role of clergy in UK Parliament

by Tola Mbakwe

The Bishop of Manchester, who joined the House of Lords on Monday, has talked about the importance of having a faith perspective in the governance of the UK. 

In an interview with Premier, Rt Rev David Walker said despite continued calls from Humanists and others for bishops to be removed from the House of Lords, faith has always been an important part of conversations in Parliament. 

"I know from my fellow bishops in the House of Lords, some who've been there for a long time, that we don't use those seats in a partisan way," he said. 

"Often the strongest support we get is from other faith communities, Jewish and Muslims. 

"It's about the ways in which we help ensure that faith is seen as part of the public agenda, because faith is at the heart of the majority of people's lives in this country, whatever that faith may happen to be.

"We can help establish that within those situations in which the big decisions about the future of our country are being taken."

Bishop David said he will take his passion for the homeless into his new role as a peer.

"I've been involved with various Christian and other homelessness charities for pretty well the whole of my adult life, since I first visited a church army hostel in Cambridge as a student to help with their Sunday morning services. 

"I'm hoping to have some influence and some impact on how we make this country's housing policy better to meet the needs of the whole of the people who live here."

Because of the coronavirus pandemic and parliament's hybrid working arrangements, Bishop David's schedule involves less travel from Manchester to London than it normally would have.  

He's asked Christians to keep him in prayer so he can be used by God in his new position. 

"Please pray that I'll have discernment to know when I need to be part of the debate and when I need to leave other people to do that," Bishop David said. 

"Pray that I know when to intervene, and how to intervene effectively so that I can be an ambassador for Christ in that context, but by being an ambassador for Christ, I can support people of all faiths and none, but who see that religion has an important part to play in the life of our nation."

Listen to Premier's interview with Bishop David Walker here:

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