The Church of England has slammed a pro-LGBT group for suggesting there are still ten gay bishops in the closet.

The Bishop of Grantham,  Nicholas Chamberlain, become the first Church of England bishop to come out as being in a same-sex relationship on Friday, after a Sunday newspaper threatened to out him.

The Church of England has faced increased tensions over LGBT rights in the past few years following to the introduction of same-sex marriage in England.

Under hastily-implemented rules, the Church of England remains opposed to same-sex weddings – meaning that clergy cannot carry out services or ‘blessings’ for same-sex couples, and gay members of the clergy are punished for getting married themselves.

After the Bishop’s announcement, Reverend Colin Coward, founder of Changing Attitude, told the Sunday Times there were many others still in the closet.

He said: “There are at least ten other bishops in the Church who are gay, many of whom are in some kind of relationship.

“I would encourage gay bishops to be open, but I would not ‘out’ them against their will.”

But in a response, the Church of England attacked the claims as “irresponsible”.

A response said: “Such comments should rightly be dismissed as idle speculation.

“It is surprising that campaign groups which claim to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Christians would indulge in such irresponsible tactics whereby such claims may lead to attempts to identify individual bishops.”