Questions 3 – The Bishop of Oxford and the Media

  1. When the Mail on Sunday published a report of the incident of 4th October 2020 the Bishop attributed the leak to supporters of the Dean and condemned it. Was that attribution based upon his own opinion, specific evidence, gossip, a third-party opinion or otherwise? Please be specific.
  2. When invited to moderate that attribution by General Synod Member David Lamming on two occasions, the Bishop failed to do so. Why did he not do so?
  3. Is it correct that immediately after the Mail on Sunday report, on 19th November 2020 the Bishop was notified by a credible source with significant Fleet Street connections that a member of the Christ Church Governing Body had been responsible for placing that story, thereby compromising the privacy of Complainant and Respondent alike? Why did he not take seriously that new information and act accordingly by issuing a more proportionate  and impartial statement?
  4. Was the Bishop aware that the Diocesan lawyers and the College engaged the same PR Consultants? Did he exercise due diligence by ensuring that Diocesan impartiality in an ongoing dispute had not been compromised by a conflict of interest inherent on that dual role?
  5. Why did the Bishop only censure the Dean’s supporters for defending him in public, but remained silent as to the detractors, even as he received independent reports of the Dean being denigrated from within his own Cathedral? Please confirm that such reports were brought to his attention.
  6. Why did the Diocese of Oxford’s media statements precisely mirror the line taken by the lawyers litigating against the Dean?  The lawyers for the Diocese and the College were the same: Winckworth Sherwood.  Does the Bishop consider this might look like a conflict of interest?
  7. Why did the Bishop make strenuous and continuous attempts to silence the Dean and prevent him from teaching and preaching, yet did nothing to inhibit his persecutors (clergy and his lawyers)?