All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group

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Lord Warner, Vice Chair and former Chair of the APPHG

All-Party Groups (APGs) are informal, cross-party, interest groups of the UK Parliament.[1] APGs have at least 20 members who are all Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords.[2] The All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG) is a subject group of the APG whose purpose is to bring together non-religious humanist, atheist and agnostic MPs and peers to discuss matters of shared interest.[3][4][5]


Ian Swales MP

APPHG first began in the 1960s. In 1996 it had 47 members and now has over 100. Although the Group is not part of, nor affiliated to, Humanists UK (formerly called the British Humanist Association), the organisation does provide the secretariat.[6]

Topics discussed[edit]

The Group meets around 4 times a year to hear speakers and discuss relevant issues, as well as to share information and receive briefings on matters of interest. These matters are wide-ranging and include the promotion of a rational approach to bioethical, medical, and scientific issues, the defence of free speech, civil liberties and education.[6]

Officers and members[edit]

Julian Huppert, former MP and former APPHG Vice Chair

Since September 2017, the officers of the APPHG have been Chair: Crispin Blunt MP; Co-Chair: Joan Bakewell; Vice Chairs: Clive Lewis MP, Tommy Sheppard MP, Kelvin Hopkins MP, Jeff Smith MP, Lord Warner of Brockley, Lord Taverne of Pimlico, Lord Garel-Jones of Watford, Baroness Flather of Windsor and Maidenhead; Secretary: Baroness Massey of Darwen; and Treasurer: Lord Dubs of Battersea.[7]

The total membership of the group exceeds 100.[8] Former members have included Michael Connarty, Julian Huppert, Ian Swales, Colin Challen, Lynne Jones, Evan Harris, Paul Holmes and Sandra Gidley,[9] William Goodhart, Joel Joffe, and Rhodri Morgan, later First Minister of Wales.[7] Other members include Baroness Bakewell.[10]

Notable debates[edit]

April 2007 - Religion: Non-believers[edit]

Thursday 19 April 2007[11] debate Religion: Non-Believer in House of Lords lasted two and a half hours. Lord Harrison called to attention the position in British society of those who profess no religion. Edited verbatim Hansard report.[12] The debate was summarised by HASSNERS.[13] The speakers were Lord Harrison, Baroness Carnegy of Lour, Lord Goodhart, The Archbishop of York, Lord Judd, Baroness Flather, The Lord Bishop of Worcester, Lord Macdonald of Tradeston, Baroness Byford, Baroness Greengross, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, Lord Carey of Clifton, Baroness Murphy, Baroness Massey of Darwen, Lord Wedderburn of Charlton, Baroness Whitaker, Lord Joffe, Lord Graham of Edmonton, Lord Roberts of Llandudno, Baroness Wilcox, and Baroness Andrews.

July 2013 - Contributions of atheists and humanists to society[edit]

Kelvin Hopkins MP, Co-Chair

A debate in the House of Lords on Thursday 25 July 2013 lasted two and a half hours and more than 20,000 words were spoken. The motion of the debate was "That this House takes note of the contribution of atheists and humanists to United Kingdom society."[14][15] Watch the video[16][17] and read the edited verbatim report[18][19] of the debate. It was covered by media sources including the BBC,[17] British Humanist Association,[20][21] Labour Lords,[22] Atheism UK,[23][24] SkepticInk,[25] HASSNERS.[26] The speakers were Lord Harrison,[27] Baroness Whitaker, Baroness Meacher, Lord Bishop of Birmingham, Lord Layard, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, Lord Maxton, Lord Morgan, Baroness Flather, Baroness Massey of Darwen, Baroness Warnock, Lord Soley, Viscount Craigavon, Baroness Turner of Camden, Lord Warner, Lord Taverne, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon.[28][29]


  1. ^ "The Nature of All-Party Groups". UK Parliament. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Purpose and form of APGs". UK Parliament. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  3. ^ "All-Party Parliamentary Subject Groups". UK Parliament. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Humanists are atheist or agnostic". British Humanist Association. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  5. ^ "All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group". UK parliament. UK parliament. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Humanists in Parliament". British Humanist Association. British Humanist Association. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Crispin Blunt and Joan Bakewell elected as Chair and Co-Chair of humanists in Parliament". Humanists UK. 13 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Clive Lewis elected Chair of All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group". British Humanist Association. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  9. ^ "APPHG membership". Skeptical voter. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Baroness Joan Bakewell". BHA. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  11. ^ "House of Lords - Table of Contents for Thursday 19 Apr 2007". UK Parliament. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  12. ^ "Hansard report Religion: non-believers debate". Hansard. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  13. ^ "Summary of debate in House of Lords April 2007. Religion: non-believers". HASSNERS. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  14. ^ "25th July 2013 APPHG debate in Lords". UK Parliament. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Lords debates atheists and humanists". UK Parliament. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Video of the 25th July 2013 debate: Contribution of Atheists & Humanists to UK society". UK Parliament. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  17. ^ a b "BBC Video: 'Peers urge greater recognition of atheism and humanism'". BBC. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  18. ^ "Transcription of House of Lords debate 25th July 2013: Contribution of Atheists and Humanists to UK Society". TWFY. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  19. ^ "Transcription of House of Lords debate 25th July 2013: Contribution of Atheists and Humanists to UK Society". Hansard. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  20. ^ "Peers celebrate humanist contribution to British society". British Humanist Association. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  21. ^ "Storify of twitter comments on Atheists and Humanists debate". British Humanist Association. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  22. ^ "Labour Lords preview debate". Labour Lords. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  23. ^ "Contribution of atheists & humanists to UK society, Part 1". Atheism UK. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  24. ^ "Contribution of atheists & humanists to UK society, Part 2". Atheism UK. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  25. ^ "Absolutely Awesome. Humanism & Atheism debated in House of Lords". SkepticInk Network: A Tippling Philosopher. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  26. ^ "Debate: Contributions of Atheist & Humanists to society". HASSNERS blog. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  27. ^ "Lord Harrison: British Social Attitudes Survey, almost half of us owe no allegiance to any religion". Labour Lords. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  28. ^ "Atheists and Humanists: Contribution to Society". UK Parliament. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  29. ^ "Video - Atheists and Humanists: Contribution to Society debate - from 2.12pm to 4.40pm". UK Parliament. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.