A bishop is urging Catholics to lobby their MPs over a Conservative manifesto pledge which, if kept, would pave the way for up to 40 new Catholic schools.

The Conservatives had promised to allow new Catholic free schools to give priority to Catholic pupils. Previously there had been a 50 per cent cap on the proportion of pupils that free schools could admit on the grounds of faith. This cap had prevented the Catholic Church from opening any free schools.

The pledge to abolish the cap, however, was missing from the Queen’s Speech last week.

Bishop Alan Hopes of East Anglia has called on parishioners to write to MPs asking them to support the removal of the cap. The bishop said he had already written to all the MPs within his diocese.

The Diocese of East Anglia, he said, had already developed bids for eight new Catholic schools in Norfolk, Peterborough and Cambridgeshire.

“We are now simply awaiting the opportunity to submit these bids, and the removal of the cap is the final piece of the jigsaw to enable this to happen and for new Catholic schools to become a reality,” said Bishop Hopes.

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