The Church of England’s representative in the Commons hailed “hallelujah sister” yesterday as he welcomed moves to allow women bishops.
Sir Tony Baldry, Second Church Estates Commissioner, told MPs he hoped to bring forward legislation to the Commons in September to allow women to be appointed bishops.
This could lead to the appointment of the first female bishop before the end of 2014, the Conservative MP added.
The General Synod gave final approval to the move earlier this week in a historic vote at York University.
Speaking in the Commons, Labour’s Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland, told Sir Tony: “It’s the answer we’ve been waiting the last 20 years to hear.
“It’s very good news for the country, it’s very good news for the church and I’d like to congratulate everybody who secured this result in Synod.
“I wonder if you could tell the House when you think women bishops might be installed and when he thinks they might be introduced into the (Lords)?”
Sir Tony replied: “The answer I feel like giving to you is hallelujah sister at last.
“After so many years of waiting, the Church of England is now going to have women bishops, which will enable the church to fulfil its mission as a church to the whole nation and to allow every part of the church to flourish.
“If the ecclesiastical committee approves the measure on Tuesday then I would hope, subject to the agreement with the (Commons Leader William Hague), to be able to bring forward the measure to this House in September.
“I think the (Lords) could hope to deal with the measure early in October.”
Sir Tony said this would enable the General Synod to meet formally in November to enact the measure, adding: “That would enable hopefully the Church of England to be able to appoint the first woman bishops either this year or very early next year.”