The Bishop has defended his role as an unelected lawmaker.
He said: ‘It is not really for me to say anything into this space but I can talk on what I think I am doing here.
‘There has always been an awkward interface between the world and democracy with the spiritual world.
‘My duty is here, and that is where I see myself being and belonging.
‘All elected politicians are elected on a mandate, whereas you could say someone independent could have some sort of legitimate descent.’
Since the 1600s the Lord Bishop has been the a member of Legislative Council, and is able to vote not only in LegCo and Tynwald.
As such he votes for and against laws, with the same rights as any other Member of Legislative Council.
While the other MLCs are not voted for directly, they are elected by MHKs.
In contrast, the bishop is appointed to the position by the Church of England.
When introducing the motion, Ms Faragher said that she did not intend to ‘bash the bishop’, and brought forward the motion as Bishop Eagles retires.
She said that she believes that if you have not been elected by the people of the island, you should not be in the court.
She added that the government needs to move towards inclusivity, accountability and transparency, which removing the Bishop from LegCo would be a good first step.
Eight MHKs voted for the motion, and 16 against, with LegCo voting unanimously against it.
According to Douglas North MHK, David Ashford, the matter was last debated six years ago to date.
Douglas South MHK Sarah Maltby seconded the motion, and requested an amendment of the motion to remove the Bishop as a voting member of the Legislative Council.
The majority of Keys voted for this amendment, with 14 voting for this, and 10 against, but most of Legislative Council voted against the amendment.
The Speaker of the House, Juan Watterson, also moved to amend Mrs Maltby’s motion to include that the bishop should not ‘reckon towards the constitution of a quorum of Legislative Council or Tynwald’.
A lengthy debate saw members including Ramsey MHK Lawrie Hooper, Douglas East's Clare Barber and Garff’s Daphne Caine in support of the motion.
Those in favour of the motion spoke about how times are changing and said Tynwald needs to have fairer and more inclusive representation.
Other MHKs, including Kate Lord-Brennan, Rob Callister, Tim Johnston and Chief Minister Alfred Cannan, were against the motion.
Members against the motion spoke about the historic role of the bishop, the role that bishop plays in providing members with a different perspective and how the bishop’s presence reduces animosity in the court.
Joney Faragher has since said that it was a ‘shame’ and a ‘lost opportunity’ although noted that it was important to get the will of Tynwald.
Apart from Iran, the only other country where clerics automatically get seats in parliament is the United Kingdom.
It automatically awards 26 seats in the House of Lords to bishops of the Church of England. Is the bishop right? Or do you support Ms Faragher’s stance?
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