The Bishop of Durham Justin Welby, who has been appointed as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, says the Church of England must have “no truck with any form of homophobia”.

Although Dr Welby has previously stated his opposition to equal marriage and the ordination of gay bishops, in a speech made on Friday at Lambeth Palace, Dr Welby signalled that he was willing to engage on LGBT issues by saying:

“It is absolutely right for the state to define the rights and status of people cohabiting in different forms of relationships, including civil partnerships.

“We must have no truck with any form of homophobia in any part of the church”.

He said that he supported the House of Bishops’ statement in the summer in response to the government’s consultation on same-sex marriage – which opposed the measure.

“But I also know I need to listen very attentively to the LGBT communities and examine my own thinking carefully and prayerfully,” he added.

Dr Welby was named on Thursday as the replacement for Dr Rowan Williams, who steps down in December after ten years in the post as Archbishop of Canterbury.