Tag Archives: john sentamu

Liberals must not defend the discriminatory status quo when supporting John Sentamu

Constitutional reform is a longstanding golden thread running through liberal political philosophy. We don’t believe the current system of government is fit for purpose. Liberals have long wanted to replace the House of Lords with an elected upper chamber accountable to voters. And liberals have long called for the disestablishment of the church and equality for people of all faiths and none. That’s because our values tell us that in a multi-faith society, handing law-making powers to a small number of people from a single faith tradition is discriminatory and illiberal.

So while I understand the motives of Liberal Democrats getting exercised about the government’s decision not to award John Sentamu a continuity peerage, I disagree with their arguments. The former Archbishop of York has a long and admirable history of campaigning for positive social change. That is not up for debate, though many will remember with some pain his opposition to equal marriage. If we had an elected upper chamber, I’m sure he’s exactly the sort of person who might belong in it.

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