A prominent bishop has called on other Christian Guide and Brownies volunteers to mirror the decision by the leaders of one troop who have pledged to retain the traditional promise which contains references to God and country.

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, said that he hoped “many others” would follow the stance taken by the women in Harrogate, North Yorks.

Gem Henderson, 28, who volunteers at the group, based at St Paul’s United Reformed Church in Harrogate, who is an atheist, claimed the local leaders were effectively excluding people who do not believe.

She accused them of "discriminating" against people like herself and derided the traditional Girl Guide promise as like pledging allegiance to a “beard in the sky”.