The next Bishop of Exeter says there is “no place for homophobia” in the Church of England, whilst restating its position against equal marriage.

The Right Reverend Robert Attwell, 59, currently the Bishop of Stockport, has been named as successor to the Right Reverend Michael Langrish as Bishop of Exeter.

“We understand marriage to be the union of one man and one woman for life, and that is the best and solid way for nurturing of children,” Bishop Attwell said.

“Good family life makes for a good, strong society. That is what the Church teaches and that is what I believe.

“But there is no place at all for homophobia in the Church.

“As far as I am concerned I want all people, regardless of their gender or their sexuality, to feel at home in our churches and be welcomed.”

The Dean of St Albans, Dr Jeffrey John, came within one vote of being recommended as the new Bishop of Exeter in December.

His appointment would have made history as Britain’s first openly gay bishop. Dr John has repeatedly been overlooked for promotion due to the efforts of conservative Anglicans,

In July 2013, the Archbishop of Canterbury said he would “specifically target” homophobic bullying in Church of England schools.

The Most Rev Justin Welby made the comments as part of his first speech to the General Synod as Archbishop of Canterbury.

He admitted that the Church’s opposition to equal marriage had been “utterly overwhelmed” by passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act.

Whilst the Church continues to oppose marriage equality, Archbishop Welby stated the importance of building bridges with gay people to ensure “what we do and say demonstrates the lavish love of God to all of us”.