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Archbishop of Canterbury criticises Britain's economy

Britain has had "quite a long time" below the economic activity levels of 2007, the Archbishop of Canterbury said today.

The Rt Rev Justin Welby, who took over the role last month, returned to the theme of the country's financial woes in a radio interview following his warning on Monday that Britain is in an economic depression and could take a generation to recover.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has issued an economic warning to the Government. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/Press Association Images

He said then that it would take something "very major" to restore confidence and drag the country out of the mire. He suggested the Government may need to recapitalise at least one major bank, and urged the creation of regional banks.

Asked on BBC Radio 4's The Week in Westminster whether he minded ruffling a few feathers, he said: "I don't know if it annoyed people in Number 10. They haven't said anything here. I mean they probably would have preferred it not said."

'Vast majority' of Anglican community back gay marriage stance

The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Rev Justin Welby has been confirmed into his role in a ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral. Shortly before being confirmed he said the Church's opposition to gay marriage was not a controversial issue for the majority global community of Anglicans. He said:

"The Government wants it, we think there are issues around the way it is going forward, it is not a collision course, no, it is just part of the normal discussions that one has. We have made our views clear, and they have made their views clear."


Tory MP: Arguments against gay marriage 'don't add up'

Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley said the arguments against gay marriage 'don't add up' Credit: Conservative Party

Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley dismissed the significance of a letter handed by a group of local party chiefs to Number 10 urging a rethink of gay marriage proposals, saying they represent a minority. Speaking to BBC Radio 4 he said:

"Twenty-five past and present officers went to Downing Street. Twenty-five out of 2,000, 3,000 does not strike me as being newsworthy.

"When it was first proposed I was indifferent. Then a bunch of people started arguments against it. I started looking at those arguments; they don't add up.

"What the Conservative manifesto said is that we will consider the case for allowing civil partnerships to turn to marriage. That is what we are doing in Parliament tomorrow."


Tories prepare for gay marriage vote on Tuesday

Prime Minister David Cameron is giving his MPs a free vote on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on Tuesday, which will also allow civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage and enable married people to change their legal gender without having to end their union.

The free vote on the bill's second reading on Tuesday will avoid a technical rebellion, though the high numbers expected to oppose or abstain from within his party will still prove an embarrassment for the Prime Minister.

Strong Liberal Democrat and Labour support means the Bill, however, will comfortably reach its next stage.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey insisted the vote would not tear the Tory party apart, and claimed internal divisions over the issue were "good-natured".

Report: Welby to say 'marriage is between a man and a woman, and always has been'

The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Rev Justin Welby, in a ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral today, will say that "marriage is between a man and a woman, and always has been", according to a Daily Telegraph source.

Lambeth Palace was keen to stress the view was standard Church of England policy and insisted the Archbishop was not planning to wade into the row by making any formal statements, but was simply ready to respond to any questions he was asked on the issue.

Tory activists claimed today they felt "a sense of betrayal" over the Prime Minister's "bulldozed-through" reforms and handed in a letter to No 10 urging Mr Cameron to rethink the plans.

New Archbishop braced for gay marriage row

The new Archbishop of Canterbury is ready to reveal he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman, it has emerged.

Ahead of the first parliamentary vote on the reforms, the Rt Rev Justin Welby is prepared to face questions about the highly divisive issue.

The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Rev Justin Welby will be formally confirmed in his new role at a ceremony in St Paul's Cathedral today. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Tories have been plunged into deep unrest by the proposals, which David Cameron has personally championed.

The Prime Minister is facing the prospect of some 180 members of his party, including a significant number of senior figures, opposing or abstaining in a vote on the changes on Tuesday. He is expected to attempt to talk to his MPs today in the hope of winning their support, according to The Times.

Bishop Welby is being formally confirmed in his new role at a ceremony in St Paul's Cathedral today.

For more on reports that around 180 Conservative Cabinet members, junior ministers and party enforcers are poised to oppose or abstain in a vote on gay marriage, click here.