Knowles confirmed that his resignation came as a result of the cathedral’s decision to launch legal action against the protestors.

The Dean’s resignation follows that of Canon Chancellor Dr Giles Fraser, who quit over concerns that choosing to evict the demonstrators would mean “violence in the name of the Church”.

A part-time chaplain, Rev Fraser Dyer, also resigned over similar concerns.

After announcing on Friday that the cathedral would pursue an injunction, Knowles attempted to speak with protestors on Sunday. However, he was heckled when he could not satisfactorily answer why legal action had been decided upon.
Yesterday, Knowles said: “It has become increasingly clear to me that, as criticism of the cathedral has mounted in the press, media and in public opinion, my position as Dean of St Paul’s was becoming untenable.”

He added: “In order to give the opportunity for a fresh approach to the complex and vital questions facing St Paul’s, I have thought it best to stand down as dean, to allow new leadership to be exercised. I do this with great sadness, but I now believe that I am no longer the right person to lead the Chapter of this great cathedral.”

Tory MP for Cities of London and Westminster Mark Field told reporters that the snowballing chaos at the cathedral had turned St Paul’s into a “national joke”.

He said: “The whole thing is farcical. You couldn’t make it up.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury last night finally broke his silence on the issue.

Dr Rowan Williams said: “The urgent larger issues raised by the protesters at St Paul’s remain very much on the table.

“We need – as a Church and as society as a whole – to work to make sure that they are properly addressed.”

St Paul’s closed its doors for a week over health and safety concerns posed by the tent city on its doorstep.

However, it has now reopened after protestors rearranged the camp.