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Women Bishops

Volume 514: debated on Tuesday 27 July 2010

As one who did go into the Church ministry and then discovered that I had plenty of vices, may I ask the hon. Gentleman to be a little more impatient about the issue of women bishops? To be honest, it felt as if he was saying, “Nearer and nearer draws the time”, but will it be the time that will surely come when we have women bishops, and why on earth does this legislation have to come back to this House? Surely the Church of England should be freed from the shackles of bringing its legislation here, so that we can move forward on this issue rather faster.

If the hon. Gentleman reads what I said to the General Synod, he will see that I made it clear that many of us want this legislation to come forward as speedily as possible, but we have to get it right. The reason it comes back here is that we have an established Church, and until such time as Parliament decides that we do not, we will continue to have an established Church.

I hope my hon. Friend will ask the Synod to recognise that the House welcomed the decision it took to trust women bishops to do the right things, rather than trying to force them into being second-class bishops.

I thank my hon. Friend for that. I made it clear in York at the General Synod that I did not think I could get through this House any legislation in which there was a scintilla of a suggestion of women bishops in any way being second-class bishops.