The meteoric rise of the Bishop of Durham is expected to be confirmed today when he is officially unveiled as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Right Reverend Justin Welby, an Eton-educated former oil industry executive, will become the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the 77 million strong Anglican Communion.
Yesterday said he was could not comment as he sat on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in London, of which he is a member.
When asked if he was to take on the role, he replied: “I am not able to comment, only Lambeth Palace can.”
But Bishop Welby, 56, laughed when a police officer in Westminster congratulated him. He was cautious not to answer as he raised his hands defensively.
Speculation about his appointment was fuelled after it emerged that he will not make a scheduled appearance on tonight’s live Any Questions programme on Radio 4 from Shildon in Co Durham.