The former Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has been refused an automatic life peerage by Downing Street, it has emerged.
The 71-year-old was expected to receive a permanent seat that would be enable him to continue sitting in the House of Lords following his retirement on June 7.
Although there is no automatic right for archbishops to be given a life peerage, Sentamu’s rejection marks a break in precedent which saw his predecessor, Lord Hope, and the last Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, made into life peers in 2005 and 2012 respectively.
The government said they didn’t award Sentamu a life peerage because they needed to scale back on numbers in the House of Lords, The Sunday Times reported.
A spokesman said: “The size of the House of Lords needs addressing. But given retirements and other departures, some new members are needed to ensure that the Lords has the appropriate expertise and it continues to fulfil its role in scrutinising and revising legislation.”
The snub has been widely condemned with Tottenham MP David Lammy describing it as “institutional prejudice”.
No.10 broke precedent and snubbed Britain’s first black archbishop for a peerage because it says the House of Lords is too large, but it made room for Ian Botham, Claire Fox and Theresa May’s husband.— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) October 18, 2020
Blatant institutional prejudice #BlackLivesMatterhttps://t.co/Lxcb8dYBCh
Lord Simon Woolley – founder of Operation Black Vote – told The Times: “John Sentamu is a hero and a role model not just to Black Britain but to Great Britain.
“The fact that he has not been afforded a peerage is nothing short of scandalous.”
Jo Maughham QC, director of The Good Law Project, said: “Johnson gave a peerage to Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox, who refused to condemn the IRA’s planting of the Warrington bomb. And to his own brother.
“But he snubbed Britain’s first Black Archbishop. I guess we all know what he thinks about Black men and...