CHURCH leaders are set to decide whether to endorse legislation to allow women to become bishops.

Clergy of the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds, which includes the Yorkshire Dales and parts of County Durham, will asked by the Bishop of Knaresborough, the Rt Revd James Bell, to approve proposals for women bishops at a meeting in Harrogate on Saturday (March 1).

Diocesan synods across the country have been asked to have a simple for and against vote on the motion to enable the General Synod to make an exact comparison between the voting in the different dioceses.

In the past Ripon and Leeds Synod has firmly backed legislation to enable women to become bishops and three years ago called for the process to be speeded up, so it likely to back the moves to fast track women bishops legislation this time. Provided a majority of dioceses approve the new package of measures by the May 22 deadline, the General Synod will be able to hold the final approval debate in July, less than 20 months after the failure of the earlier legislation to secure the necessary two-thirds majority.

If passed, the legislation would then go to Parliament for approval and could be in force before the end of the year.