London: In a historic first, the Church of England has voted to allow women to become bishops. The General Synod gave final approval to legislation introducing the change by the required two-thirds majority, BBC reported. The crucial vote in the House of Laity went 152 in favour, 45 against, and there were five abstentions. The vote overturns centuries of tradition in a Church which has been deeply divided over the issue. It comes more than 20 years after women were first allowed to become priests. The earlier vote in 2012 was backed by the Houses of Bishops and Clergy. But it was blocked by traditionalist lay members. The Archbishop of York asked for the result to be met “with restraint and sensitivity” but there was a flurry of cheers when it was announced. The vote followed after almost five hours of debate at the University of York. The motion had the backing of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Prime Minister David Cameron.