At the end of 2004, there were five female archdeacons, two female deans or provosts and 14 other female cathedral clergy.
It looks as though the Church of England is slowly moving towards women bishops, but progress is far too slow. Many women who work in the Church would do a far better job than many of the current bishops. Will my hon. Friend tell the Synod on behalf of this House that we want women bishops as soon as is humanly possible and, for that matter, as is divinely possible? Will he point out to the bishops that, although every one of them voted with the archbishop for the ludicrous apartheid system, seven of them have subsequently written personal, private letters to me saying that they will not support those measures? Can we make sure that there is no apartheid on this issue and that women are treated equally in the Church?
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that question. If I can steer him back to deans, canons and archdeacons, he has said that
“the number of women ordinands is rapidly catching up with the number of male ordinands.”—[Official Report, 13 June 2005; Vol. 435, c. 15.]
May that process continue and eventually lead to women bishops.