Maria Miller, the culture secretary and minister for equalities, has urged the Church of England to review its internal democracy, describing it as not reflective of the overwhelming views of its members following its botched attempt to allow women to become bishops.
In her first official comments on the issue, which has plunged the established church into turmoil, Miller told the Guardian it was “extraordinary” and “very disappointing” that a vote on long-awaited legislation had failed despite the overwhelming approval of grassroots members.
In a direct criticism of the way in which the General Synod came to its decision to block women bishops she says: “If you’re going to tackle the problem, I think the church needs to be answering some of the questions as to why their system works the way it does, and are they really happy that it’s reflective of the views of their membership. But, as I say, it’s important that the church tackles this.”
She adds: “I think it’s extraordinary that the church seems to have ended up in a situation where a vote that was taken doesn’t seem to be reflective of the overwhelming view of the members of the church.”