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23 November 2012

The Weekly WHIP 23 November

The Weekly WHIP 23 November

Female bishops

Parliament went to war with another parliament this week as MPs called on the General Synod to get their house in order and back women to become bishops. The irony of an MP wearing the tie of a male only club calling on the Church to let women climb the ranks was not lost.

David Cameron told MPs he wanted to give the Church of England a bit of a prod, Chris Bryant wanted a moratorium on bishops appointed to the House of Lords, and Tory MP Eleanor Lang questioned its place as the established Church. Even Archbishop of Canterbury-designate Justin Welby described it as a grim day.

This was of course all down to the votes of a few members of the laity of the Church of England who refused to get with the programme and by six votes failed to approve a measure allowing women to become bishops.

Finally, the grammar pedants of the Evangelical Alliance insist that there should never be women bishops but only potentially female bishops (i.e. you have male bishops not men bishops).


More battles were fought in the negotiating rooms of Brussels as David Cameron sought to pacify his backbenchers, charm his fellow European leaders and come home with money in his pocket and not in the European Union's coffers. A tough task.

Secret courts

Continuing the fighting talk, the government took a battering in the House of Lords this week with three defeats on plans to introduce secret court hearings. The defeats long in the offing suggest that in the days to come the government's gloves might come off.

Energy Bill

Energy bills are set to rise at the same time as an Energy Bill is due to drop into the parliamentary timetable. The energy secretary, Ed Davey, said bills would eventually drop but in the short term households would contribute more towards the development of renewable and nuclear alternatives. The new legislation is expected to provide significant funding for the renewal of the National Grid.

… and finally

An island is missing presumed dead somewhere off the cost of New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Sandy Island has graced maps, marine charts and Google Earth for the past decade but researchers only found the deep blue sea when they went to investigate. Explorers used to discover uncharted territory, now they're un-discovering charted lands.