Essex's most senior clergyman will take a seat in the House of Lords later this month.

Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, will become a Lord Spiritual in the chamber.

He will be summoned to Parliament on March 25 and introduced to the house by two fellow bishops.

Mr Cottrell said: “It is a great honour to be joining the House of Lords.

“We bishops do not sit there representing any party, nor even for that matter, the Church of England.

“Our presence in the House of Lords is part of the ancient fabric of the government of this land.

“We stand for faith and for its place in public life; and we speak for our dioceses knowing that the Church of England is so well networked into local communities that we often have insights about the impact of government policies on the ground that few other individuals or institutions can match.

“So I hope that my work in the House of Lords will be as one with my work in the diocese, as a voice for the Christian faith, serving the people of East London and Essex.”

The Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords consist of 26 Church of England bishops.

As well as playing an active role in House of Lords business, the Lords Spiritual read prayers at the start of each daily meeting.

Mr Cottrell, who was born in Leigh-on-Sea, has been Bishop of Chelmsford since 2010.