Religious Intelligence carries this report by Christopher Morgan:
…The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told senior colleagues that he intends to give the church control over its own senior appointments. At the moment the Prime Minister plays a major role in the appointment of diocesan bishops and has the sole right to nominate deans of most English cathedrals. Mr Brown himself hinted at lifting control of the ecclesiastical appointments in a speech to the Fabian Society last year. Until 1976 the church had no formal role in the appointment of bishops at all, although it was consulted as a matter of courtesy. Thirty years ago, however, James Callaghan then Prime Minister established the Crown Appointments Commission, now renamed the Crown Nominations Commission, which draws up a shortlist of two names which it may offer in order of preference. The Prime Minister chooses either of the names or seeks other names from the Commission. Tony Blair used this veto at least once in 1997 to turn down both candidates proposed for the diocese of Liverpool.
The Prime Minister’s appointment secretary plays an active role in the whole process and is a non-voting member of the Commission.
Sources close to Mr Brown, who is a member of the Church of Scotland, indicated that he will introduce the change by producing a memorandum of agreement with the Church’s General Synod. One source said: “Brown does not need to introduce any legislation or take up any parliamentary time in this matter. He is simply altering convention.”
The present Crown Nominations Commission would remain but present only one name to Downing Street which the Prime Minister would then pass on to the Queen for her final appointment. In the case of cathedral deans it is said that Mr Brown will invite the bishop of the diocese to consult with his senior colleagues to produce one name which again he will then pass on to the Queen. However the Chancellor’s advisors are not so clear about these intentions. It is expected however that he would leave untouched the appointment of deans of Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel, Windsor, in which the Queen still plays an active role. As “royal peculiars” the monarch remains the ultimate authority rather than a bishop…