New bishop stands down over vote on women

The crisis over the Church of England's division on women bishops has deepened after a clergyman announced he will not take up the role of the Bishop of Whitby over the issue.

Father Philip North, who was due to be consecrated as Bishop of Whitby in March, was among a group of General Synod clergy members who voted against giving final approval to legislation introducing the first women bishops.

Legislation allowing the ordination of women bishops failed to achieve a majority Credit: REUTERS/Yui Mok/POOL

Fr North, currently the team rector at Old Saint Pancras Church in London, said although it was "a great honour" to be chosen, in light of the recent vote "I have concluded that it is not possible for me, at this difficult time for our Church, to be a focus for unity".

Bishop of London the Rt Rev Richard Chartres responded, "I can understand the reasons for Philip's decision".