Church Appointments

Oral Answers to Questions — Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6th December 2004.

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Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

Different procedures are used for different appointments. In all cases, consultation is extensive whether it be for the appointment of diocesan bishops, other senior clerical appointments or parish appointments.

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Minister (Transport)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply. Will he join me and, I hope, the whole House in paying fulsome tribute to the present Archbishop of York and wish him God speed in his new parochial duties when he steps down from his current position? Will the hon. Gentleman assure the House that the consultation to which he just referred will be as wide as possible in respect of the succeeding Archbishop of York? Will he have regard to the turmoil in the Church of England, to which the archbishop referred, and ensure that both wings of the Church—the traditional and the modern—are represented?

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for mentioning the retirement of the Archbishop of York, who will take up his position as a parish priest on 15 January. I am sure that all hon. Members will wish him God speed in his new role and will welcome and appreciate the work that he has done up to now on behalf of the Church. We all read with great interest his interview, published in The Sunday Telegraph yesterday. As to the consultation process, I doubt whether there has ever been one as wide and far-reaching as the present one. It includes the hon. Lady herself, who was asked to give her views, as have others within the Church. As a result of the extensive consultation period, I am sure that, when it comes, the appointment will represent the widest interests of the Church.