Sir Tony Baldry calls for action on women bishops

MHBG-26-01-12 Tony Baldry''MHBG- MP Tony Baldry - head and shoulders, serious
MHBG-26-01-12 Tony Baldry''MHBG- MP Tony Baldry - head and shoulders, serious
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Bicester MP Sir Tony Baldry has voiced his ‘deep disappointment’ over the Church of England’s failure to make provision for women bishops this week.

Sir Tony, in his role as Second Church Estates Commissioner, asked the Prime Minister on Wednesday whether he shared his deep disappointment after draft legislation to allow women bishops was rejected by the General Synod on Tuesday.

David Cameron responded: “On a personal basis, I am a strong supporter of women bishops and am very sad about how the vote went yesterday.

“I am particularly sad for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, because he saw this as a major campaign that he wanted to achieve at the end of his excellent tenure of that office.

“It is important for the Church of England to be a modern Church that is in touch with society as it is today. This was a key step it needed to take.”

While more than the required two thirds voted in favour of women bishops in the House of Bishops and the House of Clergy, the vote in the General Synod’s House of Laity fell short of approval by six votes.

More than 90 per cent of bishops who voted on Tuesday supported the draft legislation.

Speaking after the vote the Rt Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, said: “A clear majority of the General Synod today voted in favour of the legislation to consecrate women as Bishops. But the bar of approval is set very high in this Synod. Two-thirds of each house has to approve the legislation for it to pass. This ensures the majority is overwhelming.”

Sir Tony added: “There has to be an understanding that this is an issue that has to be resolved as soon as possible.”

He said he hopes to arrange a meeting in the near future to explore ways of resolving the matter.