House of Laity will take vote of no confidence against chair who spoke against women bishops

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  • The row over female bishops rages on

    The debate over appointing female bishops in the Church of England rages on as one of the houses of the church’s governing body will meet today to take a vote of no confidence against its chair.

    The House of Laity, which is part of the General Synod, is having an extraordinary meeting to vote on a motion of no confidence in Dr Philip Giddings, who spoke against women bishops directly after Archbishop elect Rev Justin Welby spoke in favour.

    Canon Stephen Barney, who will propose the motion, says Dr Giddings ‘undermined’ the speech of the archbishop-elect and his views were not representative of the house.

    Speaking to Channel 4 News ahead of the meeting, Mr Barney said the purpose of the meeting was not to debate women bishops in this particular incident, but whether Dr Giddings was representing the house which he chaired. He added it was not a personal attack on Dr Giddings.

    He said: ‘I hope that we will have a proper debate. It’s a question of whether this was appropriate given that he was not representing the view of the vast majority of the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and indeed all but 74 of the House of Laity.’

    If more than half of the laity have no confidence in Dr Giddings then the motion will be passed .

    Mr Barney says it will send a very clear signal to the Synod’s working group on women bishops, which will meet next month to draw up a new legislative package. This will be presented to members in July.

    Dr Giddings has not yet commented on the motion.


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