Favourite for Archbishop of Canterbury

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Speculation is growing that the Bishop of Durham, the Right Rev Justin Welby, is about to be announced as the new Archbishop of Canterbury

Bookmakers Ladbrokes and William Hill have suspended betting on the next person to take on the role of head of the worldwide Anglican community after a rush of bets placed on one candidate.

Ladbrokes closed betting after reporting a “very significant move” in favour of Bishop Welby.

William Hill followed saying it had cut the odds three times in an hour.

A panel has been considering who will replace Dr Rowan Williams for months.

The Crown Nominations Commission has not set a date to announce his successor, although the decision was expected several weeks ago.

Bishop Welby has been described by BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott as the “dark horse” of the contest.

Aged 56 he is a former oil industry executive who has also held the posts of Canon of Coventry Cathedral and Dean of Liverpool.

He has also acted as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy in trouble spots and has worked to reconcile Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.

Better-known candidates include Archbishop of York John Sentamu and Bishop of London Richard Chartres.

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