A VICAR who was set to join Malmesbury Abbey is being investigated for 'serious breaches of employment law'.

The Diocese of London has launched an investigation following the Rev Oliver Ross's departure to take up a new post in Malmesbury, under the Bristol Diocese.

A service held at the Abbey last Thursday, July 5, to conduct the licensing of Rev Oliver Ross as the new vicar, it was said to have 'descended into a farce'.

The Bishop‎ of Swindon, Rt Rev Lee Rayfield conducted the 'service' and was said to have announced to a packed congregation: "You have arrived here with high expectations, they will not be met”.

He continued by reading out a statement that said that the licensing of the Rev Oliver Ross would not go ahead due to an investigation being launched by the Diocese of London into an alleged serious breach of employment law‎.

It is understood that the decision had been agreed between the Dioceses of London and Bristol on the day of the service, and that The Rev’d Ross had only been informed of their decision at lunchtime.

Reverend Oliver Ross had already moved into the Vicarage of Holloway with his wife and family.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of London said: “The Revd Oliver Ross left his roles in the Diocese of London, as Guild Vicar at St Katherine Cree and Rector at St Olave Hart Street, in June 2018, to take up a new post in Bristol Diocese.

"Subsequent to his departure, the Diocese of London has identified serious breaches of employment law at St Katherine Cree and St Olave.

"The Home Office has been notified, as has Bristol Diocese, and the Diocese of London is now investigating further."

Additionally the Diocese of Bristol confirmed that the licensing had not taken place: "Following a change of circumstances, the licensing of Oliver Ross was unable to take place at Malmesbury Abbey on Thursday evening and has been deferred until further notice."