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Public billed £300 every time Bishop visits Lords

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 23, 2012

The Bishop of Exeter, Michael Langrish, sits in the House of Lords

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The Bishop of Exeter has defended his right to claim expenses for attending the House of Lords after it was revealed he was among the church's costliest claimants.

Bishop Michael Langrish has claimed the maximum allowance of £300 for every day he sits in the chamber, latest figures have revealed.

In a 12-month period to November last year, he claimed £11,550 to cover overnight accommodation, incidental travel and subsistence.

In the first ten months of this year, he has racked up a total of almost £10,000 for just 31 days, prompting criticism from atheists and agnostics that granting senior religious figures the right to take part in Parliament is outdated.

Andrew Copson, of the British Humanist Association, said the claims underlined the need for reform.

"Church of England bishops acquire their right to sit in our Parliament and claim public money for their expenses solely by virtue of their religion and position in the hierarchy of one denomination of one church," he said.

"Lords reform should end this mediaeval hangover of automatic reserved places for bishops in our legislature."

Dr Langrish, 65, who says he stays "in a London club, as most other bishops do" to save money, argued that as chairman of the Churches' Legislation Advisory Committee – a channel for churches' views on legislation – he performed an important role.

In a statement, he added that he "frequently raises rural and other issues which impact on the lives of people across Devon" and said the money was also used to buy journals and papers to inform work carried out while in the Lords.

Under current regulations, peers are given the choice of three daily rates to cover their hotel and living expenses in London – £300, £150 or nothing.

However, they do not have to provide receipts and can also claim travel expenses.

Like all of the 26 unelected Lords Spiritual, the Bishop of Exeter's travel to and from London is paid with the House of Lords' credit card, with a reduction through the Senior Rail Card.

Bishops live rent-free in their diocese, and to cover additional costs of running their historic homes they can draw allowances paid from the Church Commissioners' £5 billion property and shares portfolio.

Dr Langrish also receives an annual stipend of £39,030 and is provided with an official car for travelling around the diocese. He can claim for entertaining guests, minor repairs , heating and lighting, gardeners and cleaners.

The presence of the church in the chamber reflects its position as the country's established religion. But under government plans, the number of bishops allowed to sit in the House of Lords would be reduced to 12, with some other faiths guaranteed representation.

Bishop Tim Thornton, of the Diocese of Truro, does not sit in the Lords.

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  • tuftyaurelius  |  July 06 2012, 12:02AM

    WHY DO WE NEED A CLERGY?????????????

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  • equity2010  |  June 27 2012, 7:51AM

    Forget the anti-religious stance, religious beliefs are essentially personal beliefs, and concentrate on the issue in hand. Nick Clegg is forging ahead with his proposals to reform the upper house and to transform it into a democratically elected upper house, a senate. Be thankful that, at last, someone has the backbone to tackle the issue.

  • tuftyaurelius  |  June 25 2012, 12:00AM

    Why do we need a CLERGY? Just a load of self-serving, patronising people who are all fantasists and escapists UNABLE AND UNWILLING to have proper jobs and pay taxes like most people! Complete parasites! Just look at the Catholic Church: a most sinister and evil organisation, full of paedophiles, ridiculous rituals for the weak minded!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    |   9
  • Anotherbloke  |  June 24 2012, 11:43PM

    Come on now, since when has ANYONE with ANY ties to a Church or religion made a quick bob or two LOL

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  • thetalkmon  |  June 24 2012, 9:55PM

    sweeney2010 - That's a great salary to be paid to tell gulible people fairy tales!

  • Grumpygutz  |  June 24 2012, 9:17PM

    follow Brian, and always look on the bright side of life...

  • sweeney2010  |  June 24 2012, 8:12PM

    39k. Not at great salary for such a position is it.

    |   -6
  • Workitout  |  June 24 2012, 8:02PM

    Church of ANYTHING.........Waste of Time.

    |   7
  • niugnepyzarc  |  June 24 2012, 6:54PM

    that's because NOTHING has been edited out over the centuries to try to make it look good, for example it openly admits some of Jesus's gigs flopped at the box office- ~ that one quote shows your `knowledge` of these matters is a load of rubbish, its a well known fact the bible particuly the king james edition is one of the most edited and changed books in history!

    |   4
  • Bob_Wickerman  |  June 24 2012, 6:51PM

    CrazyP quote-'Grylls makes himself out to be some kind of superman'.. Nah mate, he vomited in one show after eating something, and said "wow,that's a first for me"; he didn't insist on editing out of the show to make himself look good..:) Likewise when he jumped out of a helicopter and swam to a small tropical island, he had a shot at surviving but then openly admitted defeat, saying something like "It's got me beat, I'm dead if I stay here", and made a raft to paddle to the mainland. There's a parallel with the Bible which atheists say is full of contradictions, that's because NOTHING has been edited out over the centuries to try to make it look good, for example it openly admits some of Jesus's gigs flopped at the box office- "And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief"-Matt 13:58

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