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Former Sussex MP to lead bench to chose new Archbishop of Canterbury
12:42pm Thursday 26th April 2012 in News
A crossbench peer and former Sussex MP has been appointed head of the commission to choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
Lord Luce, former MP for Arundel and Shoreham, will chair the Crown Nominations Commission, charged with finding a successor to Rowan Williams who is stepping down after a decade as the Church of England's most senior cleric.
The peer's appointment, by David Cameron, was announced by Downing Street today.
The nominations commission will put its recommendation to the Prime Minister who will then seek the Queen's approval. An announcement is expected in the autumn.
Dr Williams revealed last month that he would be leaving his post at the end of December in time to start a new role as master of Magdalene College, Cambridge next January.
Lord Luce, 75, who lives in Horsham with his wife, lay minster Rose, was a Tory MP for 21 years and served in Margaret Thatcher's government, including as minister of state at the Foreign Office until he resigned over the 1982 Falklands invasion.
He also spent six years as Lord Chamberlain to the Queen until 2006. He was appointed to the House of Lords in 2000 and sits as a crossbencher.
Lord Luce described the appointment as a "great privilege" and a "heavy" responsibility.
"I am very conscious of the significance of the archbishop's role both nationally and across the world," he said.
"It is, of course, of great importance both to the Church of England and to the wider community in our country, given the Church's contribution to our society at all levels.
"The archbishop is also the head of world-wide Anglican Communion. And the appointment of an Archbishop of Canterbury also means a great deal for other Christian denominations and for other faiths.
"Archbishop Rowan has made an outstanding contribution in all of these spheres. Finding a worthy successor will not be an easy task for the commission."