David Cameron wants the Church of England to “hurry up” and recommend a new archbishop of Canterbury, sources revealed yesterday. The Evening Standard has learned that the prime minister is keen to get on with appointing a successor to Rowan Williams but is being held up by slow progress on a commission charged with nominations.

Justin Welby, the Eton-educated Bishop of Durham, is emerging as first choice but the Crown Nominations Commission is said to be unable to agree on a second choice to present to No 10. Insiders think Cameron is content with the process and not keen to intervene, but one said: “He would like them to hurry up.”

If they do choose Justin Welby then he may well be in the post for the next twenty four years. This is a big gamble to take. One which could go either way as far as the nature and survival of the Church of England is concerned.

From a personal point of view, the thought of having to wait another year or so for my diocese to find a replacement leaves me feeling utterly despondent.