Rumble of war between Church of England and parliament after women bishops vote

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Women in the Church: MPs asked why women could not be bishops when a woman is at the head of the Church of England.
Women in the Church: MPs asked why women could not be bishops when a woman is at the head of the Chuch of England.r

The House of Common was on course for a clash with the Church of England today, after MPs across the main parties savaged the decision not to allow women bishops.

The urgent debate saw MPs suggest parliament should expel Church of England bishops from the House of Lords or force the church to accept equality legislation in response to the vote.

"This is not an issue that can be parked," Tory MP Tony Baldry said.

"There has to be an understanding that this issue must be solved as soon as possible."

He added: "If it's the established church, it's right and proper parliament makes its views clear to the Church of England. It needs to hear what parliament is saying."

Labour MP David Winnick said: "It's an anti-women attitude, a feeling women have no place in public life or politics and I find that contemptible."

Tory Claire Perry said: "We're elected in a far more democratic way in this House than in the Laity.

"My heart goes out to those women who are going to be standing up on Sunday brining people to God and please can we all share a message of support?

"It will change. We are behind this change. It will happen."

Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant, who was ordained himself 20 years ago, called for a moratorium on any more male bishops, saying: "No nomination without feminisation."

Few MPs stood up to defend the decision, although Tory backbencher Peter Bone commented: "It is not for this House to tell the established church how to run itself."

That was the line taken by prime minister David Cameron yesterday, when he told MPs that the government's role should not extend beyond giving the Church a "sharp prod".
 

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