THE Diocese of Gloucester has just announced that the process is under way to enable the Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Rt Rev Martyn Snow, to take up the duties of the Bishop of Gloucester in his absence.

The move is, the diocese says, standard procedure set out in church legislation and is a process used on other occasions.

It is expected to be formally ratified in the near future.

The position of Bishop of Tewkesbury has traditionally been regarded as that of deputy to the Bishop of Gloucester.

The diocese made a surprise announcement on Friday that the current Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Rev Michael Perham, who had previously said he would retire in November, has stepped back from his role "for personal reasons".