I beg to ask the Prime Minister if his attention has been called to a recent utterance of the Bishop of London in which he exhorted the Crown to reconsider its present method of exercising ecclesiastical patronage; if he proposes to take any steps to avoid a repetition of the procedure recently adopted, with the approval of the bishop, by which the induction of an evangelical clergyman appointed by the Crown to the living of St. Saviour's, Hoxton, was prevented; and if it is proposed to transfer the patronage of this living from the Crown to the sole patronage of the Bishop of London.
I have seen a report of the sermon to which my hon. friend appears to allude, but I cannot find any exhortation in it. The Vicar of St. Saviour's, Hoxton, was, I understand, allowed by the bishop to withdraw his resignation before his living was declared vacant. I have no control over these proceedings. I am considering whether the names of Crown nominees should be divulged in future before the vacancies actually occur. An arrangement has been for some time under consideration whereby there would be an interchange of shares of patronage, that is of alternate rights of patronage, between the Crown and the bishop. If this exchange is carried out this particular living would pass wholly to the bishop—others of equivalent value passing wholly to the Crown.