James Forsyth James Forsyth

Cameron will breathe a sigh of relief if the Church of England vote for women bishops

Number 10 has a lot on its mind with the looming Cabinet reshuffle, but I suspect that there’ll be a sigh of relief there if the General Synod of the Church of England votes in favour of allowing women bishops. For if proposals for women bishops are defeated again, the problem could well end up in parliament’s court.

There are those in the Church of England who believe that if this measure fails again then parliament should simply legislate to allow them. Given the status of the Church of England, parliament has the power to do that and there are some influential MPs who privately favour this course.

But the last thing that Cameron needs is a divisive debate about the appropriate use of parliamentary power over the Church of England in which he would be expected to take stand. It will be a lot simpler for him if the Church of England simply votes for women bishops itself and then asks Parliament to approve the change.

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