THE former Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has been snubbed by Downing Street as they have failed to award him automatic life peerage.

Sentamu was expected to receive a life peerage so he would be able to continue sitting in the House of Lords after he retired on June 7.

Although there is no automatic right for archbishops to be given a life peerage, Sentamu's snubbing broke a tradition which saw his predecessor, Lord Hope, and the last Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, made into life peers.

As reported in The Sunday Times, the Government said they didn't award Sentamu a life peerage because they needed to cut back on numbers in the House of Lords.

A spokesman told The Times: "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."

Sentamu was told he was being considered for a peerage on June 26 but on July 31 he was told that he had missed out and would have to wait until the next round.