The Church of England’s General Synod yesterday voted to recognise the desire of dissident US conservative Anglicans to remain Anglicans.

But it declined to promise to ally with or endorse the group.

The decision is a small victory for liberal Anglicans and allows the church to keep a schism at bay.

The Anglican Church in North America is a group of conservatives which broke away from the mainstream US Anglican church, after the ordination of out gay Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson in 2003.

The General Synod turned down a motion put by Lorna Ashworth, an evangelical lay member of the Synod, to ask it to “express the desire” to “be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America”.

Ms Ashworth argued that some liberal Anglican dioceses were “not elevating order within the church but dumbing down doctrine” in their support for gay clergy and same-sex marriage.

Instead, the legislative body opted to recognise the Anglican Church in North America’s “desire to remain within the Anglican family”.

The General Synod also passed a motion criticising the reduction of religious programming on British television, although it stopped short of criticising the BBC.