THE new Archbishop of Canterbury was today (Tuesday, February 26) introduced to the House of Lords for the first time in his new role.
The Most Reverend Justin Welby, who became the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the 80 million-strong worldwide Anglican church when he succeeded Dr Rowan Williams earlier this year, had already been a peer, one of the 26 Lords Spiritual, through his previous job as Bishop of Durham.
But tradition required that the 57-year-old father-of-five be formally introduced in his new role and the ceremony took place in Parliament today.
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After swearing the oath of allegiance, Archbishop Welby, who has twice guest edited The Northern Echo, shook hands with the Lord Speaker Baroness D’Souza and was cheered by peers from all sides of the crowded chamber.
Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, was among those present.
As question time got under way, Conservative Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi said: “I’m sure the whole House will join me in welcoming the most reverend primate to the House in his new role.
“We all look forward to working with him on some extremely important issues on which he has great expertise.”
Labour spokesman Lord Triesman echoed the minister’s words of welcome and wished the Archbishop every success.
Earlier, Mr Welby had paid homage to the Queen at Buckingham Palace in a ceremony dating back to the Reformation in the 16th century.
Accompanied by the Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling and the Clerk of the Closet the Rt Rev Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford, he swore an oath acknowledging Her Majesty as supreme governor of the Church of England.
Yesterday, Archbishop Welby, a member of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, had grilled Chancellor George Osborne, accusing him of lacking the political will to break up the big banks.
Mr Welby was Bishop of Durham from autumn 2011. He was formally elected Archbishop of Canterbury in January and legally took office during a ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral, in London, earlier this month. He is due to be enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on Thursday, March 21.
The process of choosing the next Bishop of Durham is under way and a name is expected to be announced this summer.
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