Justin Welby has no plans to retire early

(Photo: Lambeth Palace/ Jacqui J Sze)

The Archbishop of Canterbury says he plans to stay in post until he reaches the retirement age of 70.

Justin Welby told The Times that any decision to retire early "would be arrived at in prayer, thoughtful consultation with others, family, colleagues, friends".

He has been Archbishop of Canterbury since 2013 and will turn 70 in 2026. 

He said he was happy to stay in the post so long as people "are happy" with him and he continues to be in good health. 

"It's not about me, it's what's best for the Church," Welby said.

"I will certainly take advice and if my health is good and people are happy that I'm still there, then I'll still be there."

The Archbishop was speaking days before a global gathering of bishops from the Anglican Communion in Canterbury, Kent. 

The Lambeth Conference is held around once every 10 years. 

It was supposed to be held in 2020 but was postponed until this year because of the pandemic. 

Over 600 bishops and their spouses are taking part, but the leaders of the Anglican Church in Rwanda, Nigeria and Uganda have decided to boycott the event.