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Dean of Christ Church, Oxford

Volume 650: debated on Thursday 29 November 2018

7. What support the Church of England is providing to the Dean of Christ Church cathedral Oxford in the case brought against him by Christ Church college. (907932)

At this stage, there is little more that I can add to the written answer that I gave my hon. Friend on Monday. A formal tribunal process is under way, following the statutes of Christ Church, and that will enable the complaint made against the dean to be properly investigated.

I have spoken to the Bishop of Oxford, and I am a little more reassured about the pastoral care that is being made available for the dean, but this raises the important question of why an Anglican cathedral is so much in the pocket of an Oxford college.

I can reassure the House that the Bishop of Oxford is giving pastoral support to the Dean, and I know that he went out of his way to speak to my hon. Friend. This is a very unusual case in the Church of England—the dean of a cathedral is at the same time the master of a college—but I must underline that the complaint against the Dean is an internal matter for the college, and neither the Church Commissioners nor the wider Church of England has any role in that process.