1 Nov 2011

Dean of St Paul's resigns over occupation

1:16 pm on 1 November 2011

The dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London has become the second senior cleric to resign since anti-capitalist protesters set up camp at the cathedral two weeks ago.

The Rt Rev Graeme Knowles says mounting criticism of how the situation had been handled had made his position untenable.

The news comes as City of London authorities prepare to order protesters outside St Paul's to remove their tents and equipment within 48 hours.

The City of London Corporation said it was going to issue a legal notice on Tuesday to try to clear the protest camp.

It has insisted that the protesters themselves are not being asked to leave the area.

Second resignation from cathedral

Dean Knowles, who had occupied the most senior decision-making position at the cathedral, said he was stepping down "with great sadness".

"In order to give the opportunity for a fresh approach to the complex and vital questions facing St Paul's," he said, "I have thought it best to stand down as dean, to allow new leadership to be exercised."

His departure follows last week's resignation of another cathedral official, Giles Fraser, who had been sympathetic to the activists.

In a statement responding to the resignation, Occupy London described the management of St Paul's Cathedral as "deeply divided" over its response to the protests.

"But our cause has never been directed at the staff of the cathedral," the statement added, before going on to urge an "open and transparent dialogue" involving all parties.