Dean refuses to quit troubled Lincoln Cathedral

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The Dean of Lincoln, the Very Rev Brandon Jackson, has finally replied to the public appeal to him to resign made three weeks ago by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey.

In a statement issued to his local paper, Dr Jackson said he was prepared to resign, but only if the Sub-Dean and treasurer of the cathedral, Canon Rex Davis, also resigned. Canon Davis has said he will not.

Dr Jackson has spent most of his seven years in office trying to engineer the resignation of the other four canons he found in office when he joined the cathedral; Canon Davis, his chief opponent, is the only one still in office. Dr Jackson also demanded, as the price of his own resignation, that the financial arrangements made for both men be made public.

The Dean's latest statement, in which he claims the pressure on him to stay "is very considerable and growing by the day", is the latest development in a story that has veered between tragedy and farce since Dr Jackson's arrival.

He has survived a trial for adultery with a former cathedral verger; Canon Davis has had the Fraud Squad - invited by Dean Jackson - examine the accounts of a fund-raising trip to Australia for which Canon Davis was responsible; and the two men have rejected attempts at reconciliation from the Bishop of Lincoln, the Archbishop and a team of professional counsellors.

After his acquittal on charges of adultery last year, Dr Jackson accused the Bishop, the Rt Rev Bob Hardy, of being part of a conspiracy against him and demanded that he resign. Both Bishop Hardy and Dr Carey, wearying of conciliation, have urged both men to resign. At a press conference last month, Dr Carey described their feud as "a cancer" and "a scandal dishonouring the church".

But he admitted he had no power to compel either man to resign unless they were found guilty of a criminal offence.

In his statement, Dr Jackson claimed yesterday that he was "co-operating with the spirit of the Archbishop's request, but must now leave it to others to resolve the other half of the equation needed to achieve the outcome requested".

Dr Jackson is 61. He need not resign until he reaches the age of 70.