First women bishops could be in place by next year
The first women bishops in the Church of England could be fast-tracked into the House of Lords, David Cameron suggested today.
As the Church of England's ruling General Synod gave its backing to new proposals which could see women bishops given final approval by next year, the Prime Minister said he would work with the Church to ensure women bishops have a visible presence in Parliament "as soon as possible".
He said: "I strongly support women bishops and I hope the Church of England takes this key step to ensure its place as a modern church, in touch with our society."
In answer to a question from MP Sir Tony Baldry, who was appointed Second Church Estates Commissioner in 2010, Mr Cameron said: "In terms of the problem that you raise, because of course there is a seniority rule for bishops going into the House of Lords, the Government is ready to work with the Church to see how getting women into the House of Lords can be achieved as soon as possible."
The member for Banbury had asked during Prime Minister's Questions: "The General Synod is meeting today and hopefully will find a way to enable women, as soon as possible, to be consecrated bishops in the Church of England.
"If this is successful, will you and the Government support an amendment to the Bishops Act to ensure that women bishops can be admitted to the House of Lords as soon as possible rather than women bishops having to queue up behind every existing diocesan bishop before we can see women bishops in Parliament?"