The Bishop for Birmingham has emerged as a surprise candidate for the post of Archbishop of York, the second highest office in the Church of England, according to reports.
The Right Rev Dr John Sentamu's name is understood to be on a shortlist of five drawn up by the Crown Nominations Commission at a meeting at Ampleforth Abbey last month.
Ugandan-born Bishop Sentamu, aged 56, becomes the first black bishop in the UK to take charge of an Anglican diocese when he came to the city three years ago.
He is a staunch campaigner against gun crime, and will launch Birmingham's first "Peace Week" with a service in St Philip's Cathedral next week.
The event has been organised by anti- gun crime charity the Disarm Trust.
In recent weeks he has campaigned for support for former MG Rover workers. He is well-regarded in Downing Street, where he has advised the Prime Minister's social inclusion team.
In 1997 he became an advisor to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and was instrumental in the damning report which branded the Metropolitan Police " institutionally racist".
He also chaired an inquiry into the investigation of the murder of ten- year- old
D a m i l o l a Taylor, which was highly critical of police and the Crown Prosecution Service.
It thought his appointment to such a senior church position would appeal to young people and please the millions of Anglicans in Africa.
The names of two potential candidates have been submitted to Tony Blair for consideration but it is not known if they include Bishop Sentamu.
A spokeswoman for the Birmingham Diocese said she could not comment on the report yesterday.