Coffee House

Justin Welby to face MPs and peers on women bishops row

11 December 2012

4:34 PM

11 December 2012

4:34 PM

Justin Welby is certainly a bold chap: I understand the man set to take over from Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury is due to meet MPs and peers on Thursday to discuss their concerns about women bishops.

I’ve picked up a flyer for the morning meeting in the House of Lords, where the current Bishop of Durham will ‘discuss concerns of members regarding Women Bishops’. Chairing the meeting will be Sir Tony Baldry MP and the Bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens, who is also the Convenor of the Bishops in the House of Lords.


It’s likely to be an extremely well-attended meeting, especially given some politicians have been pushing for the Church of England to be banned from making further appointments to the House of Lords until the issue of women bishops is resolved. An e-petition calling for the government to remove the automatic right to seats in the House of Lords from the church has reached 10,200 signatures. David Cameron, meanwhile, has called on the CofE to bring forward its next vote on the matter to before 2015.

Welby himself supports the appointment of women as bishops, as do the majority of the bishops and clergy. One of the questions that peers will doubtless wish to ask him will be over procedure: will he consider changing the way the General Synod’s electoral college works? Currently two thirds of the House of Laity needs to approve the measure, which meant that while a majority did still vote in its favour in November, there were insufficient numbers to pass it.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Mick

    As an Anglican from another part of the world, I find the level of political interference in the Anglican Church in England hard to believe or understand.

  • Sarah

    It just be lonely being the only woman the Spectator editors have have hired to write for them.

    • TomTom

      Not true Sarah but such it the atmosphere in media in Britain that Mary Ann Evans calls herself George Eliot….so you can imagine Fraser Nelson and James Forsyth are not whom they seem

  • TomTom

    Cameron should fire him….after all he appointed him. It is time the Archbishop of Canterbury recognised that he is a Civil Servant appointed by the Prime Minister and rubber stamped by the Monarch who serves Parliament. It is time that the Church of England was fully integrated into the Home Office and its staff put on the Consolidated Fund. The peculiar status of an Erastian Church pretending to be an independent church is as sham as the BBC pretending to be a broadcaster independent of Royal Charter and TV Tax. Once the Church of England is properly integrated into the Home Office it can be funded by taxation and open to all irrespective of religion, beliefs, creeds, citizenship like any youth club or social welfare agency.

    • swatantra

      Obviously said with tongue in cheek.
      The fact is once appointed, they become quite separate animals. So Welby stands apart from whoever appointed him, and is beholden to no one, rather like the Pope.. Remember the fraught relationship between Becket and Henry II. The Govt has as much control over the Cof E as it has over the Judiciary. Zilch. So its pointless Baldry telling the Archbishop what to do. If I were the Archbishop, I would tell Baldry and his ilk to get lost.

      • TomTom

        Baldry is a Freemason Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies

        • Sigfridii

          Baldric is also a member of the Garrick. Both well known for promoting women’s rights.