BISHOP Nigel Stock has spoken of his deep disappointment that women priests will not be able to become bishops within the Church of England.

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The General Synod of the Church of England voted on Tuesday night to reject the draft legislation to allow women to become bishops.

To be approved, the legislation required a two thirds majority in each of the three voting houses – the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity.

While more than two thirds voted for the legislation in both the House of Bishops (44-3) and the House of Clergy (148-45), the vote in the House of Laity fell short by just four votes (132-74).

The Rt Rev Nigel Stock, Bishop of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, said: “Overall there is a clear majority within the Church of England who want women to become bishops. I know that in our diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich there will be widespread disappointment.

“This is very sad for the vast majority of the Church who had hoped that this development would go through. I would like to reassure women clergy that despite their disappointment this is no reflection on their much valued ministry, which continues to be hugely valued and appreciated.”

In total, 324 members of the General Synod voted for the legislation and 122 voted to reject it.

The “no” vote means it will not be possible to introduce the same draft legislation until 2015, unless the Group of Six – the Archbishops, the Prolocutors and the chair and vice chair of the House of Laity – give their permission.

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