Constitutional Affairs Committee

Press Notice/ 04 of Session 2003-04                  26 January 2004


The reform of the Office of Lord Chancellor: ecclesiastical patronage

The Constitutional Affairs Committee will hold a public evidence session on: The reform of the Office of Lord Chancellor: ecclesiastical patronage on Thursday 29 January. The session will focus on what should happen to the ecclesiastical functions of the Lord Chancellor once the Office of the Lord Chancellor is abolished. At present, one of the Lord Chancellor’s varied functions is the appointment of vicars and rectors to a number of parishes within the Church of England, as well as appointing canons to some cathedrals. The Committee is keen to investigate how the current system works and how it would be affected by the government’s proposals.

The Committee announced its intention to hold this inquiry on 16 December 2003 (Press Notice 2, Session 2003-04). That Press Notice sets out details of those issues of particular interest which the Committee intend to explore and is available on the Committee’s website at:

Details of the evidence session are as follows:

Thursday 29 January

3.00 pm    The Rt Rev John Gladwin, Bishop of Chelmsford, The Rt Rev George Cassidy, Bishop of Southwell, The Rt Rev Ian Cundy, Bishop of Peterborough and Mr William Fittall, Secretary General, Archbishop's Council

3.45 pm    Canon Bob Burston, Rector of Glansdale, Mrs Lynne Cowley, Deanery Representative, Surrey Heath and Mrs Vera Davies, Churchwarden, St Mary the Virgin, Great Dunmow

4.30 pm    Mr David Watts, Head of Division, Non-Judicial Team, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Nick Wheeler, Assistant Appointments Secretary, 10 Downing Street and The Rev John Lee, Clergy Appointments Adviser, Church of England

A copy of the transcript of evidence will be available as soon as practicable on the  Reports and Publications page of the Committee’s website at: