The Second Church Estates Commissioner took questions in the House of Commons yesterday. The first two were about women bishops.
The hon. Member for Banbury , representing the Church Commissioners, was asked-
6. Diana R. Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab): What recent representations he has received on proposals for the consecration of women as bishops. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Tony Baldry): I have received numerous representations from people on all sides of the argument. I recently addressed the General Synod of the Church of England on this matter in York, and I have placed a copy of my statement in the Library.
Diana R. Johnson: Will the hon. Gentleman take a guess as to when he thinks we will have the historic first woman bishop in the Church of England? When does he think that will be?
Tony Baldry: The legislation completed its Report stage at York. It now has to go to all the 44 dioceses of the Church of England. If a majority of them agree, it will go back to General Synod, probably in 2012. If two thirds of each of the General Synod’s houses agree to it, I would then expect it to come here to the Ecclesiastical Committee and this House in 2013, and if this House agrees, we could see the appointment of the first woman bishop in 2014.
Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin) (Con): As someone who considered entering the ministry but realised I had too many vices and not enough virtues, may I commend the life and ministry of women in the Church, but also ask my hon. Friend whether he agrees that the first appointment of a female bishop, which will undoubtedly happen soon, must be on merit rather than political correctness?
Tony Baldry: I am sure that all appointments in the Church of England, including that of the Second Church Estates Commissioner, are made on merit.
The hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked-
8. Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab): When he expects the Church of England to consecrate its first woman bishop. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Tony Baldry): I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave a few moments ago.
Chris Bryant: As one who did go into the Church ministry and then discovered that I had plenty of vices, may I ask the hon. Gentleman to be a little more impatient about the issue of women bishops? To be honest, it felt as if he was saying, “Nearer and nearer draws the time”, but will it be the time that will surely come when we have women bishops, and why on earth does this legislation have to come back to this House? Surely the Church of England should be freed from the shackles of bringing its legislation here, so that we can move forward on this issue rather faster.
Tony Baldry: If the hon. Gentleman reads what I said to the General Synod, he will see that I made it clear that many of us want this legislation to come forward as speedily as possible, but we have to get it right. The reason it comes back here is that we have an established Church, and until such time as Parliament decides that we do not, we will continue to have an established Church.
Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) (Con): I hope my hon. Friend will ask the Synod to recognise that the House welcomed the decision it took to trust women bishops to do the right things, rather than trying to force them into being second-class bishops.
Tony Baldry: I thank my hon. Friend for that. I made it clear in York at the General Synod that I did not think I could get through this House any legislation in which there was a scintilla of a suggestion of women bishops in any way being second-class bishops.
There was also a question about Cathedral Restoration, copied here below the fold.
9. Hugh Bayley (York Central) (Lab): What recent representations the Church Commissioners have made to the Government on public funding for the repair and restoration of cathedrals. 
Tony Baldry: Church groups of all denominations are seeking to encourage and persuade the Government to continue the listed places of worship grant scheme, which enables a 100% refund of VAT on church buildings and repairs.
Hugh Bayley: Is the hon. Gentleman aware that Yorkshire Forward, the Yorkshire regional development agency, was forced to withdraw a grant of £1 million toward the cost of restoring the great east window of York minster? Will the Church Commissioners make representations to the Government that funds withdrawn from RDAs should be made available to other regional or local bodies, and that funding applications to these bodies from cathedrals should still be supported?
Tony Baldry: I understand the point the hon. Gentleman makes. It is estimated that some £9 million is required to put York cathedral into good repair. Although funding has been coming forward-I understand that there is a grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the Wolfson Foundation has set up a fund for cathedral repairs-we will need to find money from all sorts of sources if we as a nation are to meet the responsibility of repairing these fantastic cathedrals, which are part of our national heritage.
Mr James Gray (North Wiltshire) (Con): Can my hon. Friend explain why two of the cathedrals in Scotland-Glasgow and Dunblane-are fully funded by the public purse, yet not a single cathedral in England is so funded?
Tony Baldry: The situation in Scotland is simply different from that here. As I said, we need to raise considerable sums of money-for Salisbury, Winchester and Lincoln cathedrals, and for York minster-but that will require a number of different sources of funding: part from the state, part from trusts and charities and part from private individuals.