Gay marriage vote in chaos
The Church of England's crucial vote on gay marriage has been thrown into doubt after the Bishop of Coventry admitted he accidentally voted against the report and several others may have made the same mistake.
The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth apologised for the mistake last night, which he said was because of "a moment of distraction and some confusion over the voting process".
The bishop insisted that he did in fact support the report written by his colleagues and was "embarrassed" to have accidentally rejected it.
It has since emerged that some members have suggested that clergy had made the same mistake. Rev Peter Ould, of Canterbury, said he had heard from other synod members who had also voted "no" incorrectly.
"I've spoken to two members of the house of laity who were confused, one of whom was very clear that he voted the wrong way. It would need four members of the house of clergy to say that they made a mistake for the result to change," he said.
"They voted the wrong way because they weren't sure of what they voted on. One I spoke to thought they were still voting on procedure aspects rather than the actual substantive motion."
Other members said that they had voted the wrong way because they thought they were voting on a point of procedure, and not the actual debate.
Prominent Anglican blogger Archbishop Cranmer tweeted: "If a bishop can do it, so can four members of clergy. How precarious is digital democracy."
One lay synod member, who accidentally voted against the report but did not want to be named, told magazine 'Christian Today' about the chaos in the chamber, saying a lot of people were unsure what they were voting for.
"Other people around me were talking about their own misunderstandings," he said.
"The voting wasn't clear. I have concerns, someone got shouted over, it was very confusing.
"It was more of a colluding with people rather than an orderly debate."