Sunday, 10 June 2007

Brown to give up Prime Minister's power to pick Church leaders

Ed: As blogged about here lst month.

Gordon Brown is preparing to give up the prime minister's historic right to choose the Archbishop of Canterbury - and other Church of England bishops.

The move to grant "operational independence" to the Church will represent one of the biggest changes to its relationship with the state for centuries. It is just one of a swathe of "royal prerogative" powers, held by the prime minister, which Mr Brown is planning to do away with once he takes over at Number 10 later this month.

In a move he has already announced, he will also give up his prerogative power to declare war without the consent of parliament. Military action, such as the invasion of Iraq, will in future have to be approved in advance by MPs.

Mr Brown, whose father was a minister in the Church of Scotland, is determined that the Church of England will make up its own mind on who should succeed Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of 70 million Anglicans worldwide. He was appointed in 2002.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that the prime minister-in-waiting has asked officials and senior politicians with close links to the Church to investigate the best way that he can renounce the "power of patronage". Read more

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