BURNLEY MP Peter Pike has branded the right of Church of England bishops to sit in the House of Lords as 'nonsensical.'

The Labour backbencher was supporting the reform of Parliament's Upper House in two stages and said the 'indefensible' voting rights of hereditary peers had to go before full-scale change could be contemplated.

Speaking in a Commons debate, the practising Anglican then turned on the bishops.

Mr Pike said: "Let us take the clergy; I am a member of the Church of England, but I think that the position of the clergy in the Upper House is nonsensical.

"The Upper House contains two archbishops, a number of bishops - Durham and so on - who are there because of their importance in medieval times, and several other bishops who sit in the Upper House according to seniority.

"Bishops have several ways of entering the House of Lords, but if we argue that they should continue to have seats, it is nonsense that other religions should not have similar representation."

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