The panel tasked with appointing the new dean of Derby was pleased to receive a very healthy number of inquiries and many good-quality applications following its advertisement. Some 30 applications were considered at the long-listing stage.
Given that the Church of England ordains about 400 priests a year, of whom half are women, was the hon. Gentleman as surprised as I was that not one of the applicants was a woman priest? Does he think that reflects badly on the recruitment process, and that there is some perceived institutional barrier to women making progress in the Church of England?
I might in the narrow context of female deans, but the hon. Gentleman will know that the number of women archdeacons is steadily increasing. There are currently 15 of them—14 per cent. of the posts filled. We have two excellent female deans, at the hon. Gentleman’s own cathedral in Salisbury and at Leicester cathedral. I agree with him, however, that we ought to do more and that there ought not to be a glass ceiling.