Vote on women bishops on 'knife-edge'

Under the draft legislation before the General Synod, a woman bishop would delegate to a stand-in male bishop to minister to an objector parish by reference to a code of practice.

The legislation has been backed by 42 out of the 44 Church of England dioceses but needs a two-thirds majority in all three houses of the General Synod - of bishops, clergy and laity - to gain final approval.

Commentators have said they believe it will clear the houses of bishops and clergy with the necessary two-thirds majority but the outcome among lay members of the General Synod is thought to be on a "knife-edge".