Bishops of Portsmouth and Peterborough enter House of Lords

Bishop Christopher Foster

The Anglican Bishops of Portsmouth and Peterborough are becoming the latest members of the House of Lords this week.

The Right Reverend Christopher Foster has asked for prayers as he becomes one of 26 Church of England bishops in the House of Lords.

The bishop has said he will use his position in Parliament to speak up for issues affecting south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

"Though I do not intend this significantly to change my pattern of ministry, it will give me opportunity and obligation to speak from time to time on matters of national, regional and local concern from a Christian perspective," he said.

"I hope to use my experience of serving the people of this diocese to inform my contributions. In the last couple of weeks, for instance, I have seen the challenges for schools on the Isle of Wight, been involved in conversations about job opportunities in Portsmouth, and at the weekend visited some of those affected by flooding in Hambledon.

"There will be times, too, for some less public conversation and ministry in parliament. This privilege and responsibility is daunting and I value your prayers, please."

Automatic members of the House of Lords are the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester. The Lords Spiritual also comprise the 21 longest-serving diocesan bishops.

The Bishop of Peterborough, the Right Reverend Donald Allister, is being introduced to the House of Lords on Tuesday, followed by Bishop Foster on Thursday.

Bishop Allister will become one of the Church of England's spokespersons in Parliament on prisons and criminal justice, and farming and rural affairs.

"I'm glad to say that they were my first two choices," he said. "I'm not an expert on either, but I know a fair amount and care deeply about both."