Former Lord Chancellor: time for church-state split

Disestablishing the Church of England is “an idea whose time has come”, a former Lord Chancellor has said.

Speaking during a recent BBC Radio 4 programme, Lord Falconer of Thoroton said that a discussion on disestablishment “needs to be had”.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently met with royal officials to discuss possible changes to the rules for royal succession which could impact the status of the Church of England.

Items discussed included scrapping the rule which stops an heir to the throne from marrying a Roman Catholic.

Such a move could pave the way for disestablishment because the monarch is also head of the Church of England.

Lord Falconer said: “We could easily, I think, make it possible for the Monarch to be a Roman Catholic.”

He suggested altering the Church of England’s constitutional role to reflect that of the Church of Scotland north of the border.

Although Lord Falconer admitted that disestablishment was not an issue of importance to the general public, including Anglican church-goers, he said, “It’s plainly an idea whose time has come.”

“Britain is incredibly good at getting round those sorts of problems,” he added.

“We need to move forward on this.”