INCOMING Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby made a wry joke about the female bishops vote as he questioned Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne during a parliamentary hearing today.

The Bishop of Durham sits on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, which is carrying out an inquiry into the culture and practices of the financial services industry.

After Mr Osborne mentioned lay members of banking boards while giving evidence today, the Bishop provoked laughter by saying: "Thank you, Chancellor, that when you said lay people, you didn't say male lay people, (given) the present situation I'm facing."

Loading article content

The Chancellor said: "Can I congratulate you on your..."

But before he could finish his sentence, the Bishop again prompted laughter by saying: "I'm not sure you can."

Mr Osborne told him: "I thought I had a difficult job but, over the last 48 hours, I have seen you have got a much more difficult job and I wish you very well personally with that."