Sir Keir Starmer slammed by his own party after visit to church with pastor against gay marriage
Sir Keir Starmer has come under fire from his own party after visiting a north London church previously criticised for its attitudes towards homosexuality.
The Labour leader visited Jesus House in Brent Cross on Good Friday to see its vaccination centre, posting a video on his Twitter feed praising it as a ‘wonderful example of a church’ for its work with the community.
But the church’s senior pastor, Agu Irukwu, has previously attracted controversy for his comments on LGBT+ rights – having spoken out against same sex marriage and equality legislation.
Sir Keir Starmer was criticised for the visit to Jesus House in north London by the Labour Campaign for LGBT+ Rights
The visit drew scorn from the Labour Campaign for LGBT+ Rights which described the visit as ‘unacceptable.’
Sir Keir said in the video: ‘From rolling out the vaccine to running the local food bank, Jesus House, like many other churches across the UK, has played a crucial role in meeting the needs of the community.’
In 2017, Theresa May was criticised when she visited the church.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Prince of Wales have both recently been to the pop-up vaccination centre there in recent weeks.
In a statement, the Labour Campaign for LGBT+ Rights said: ‘The visit was unacceptable and we made this clear to LOTO (the Leader of the Opposition’s office).
Agu Irukwu, pastor at Jesus House, has previously spoken out against same sex marriage and equality legislation.
‘We received an unreserved apology, and will be urgently meeting with them next week to ensure this does not happen again and that LGBT+ equality is embedded in everything that Labour does.’
A Labour spokesperson said: ‘The Labour Party is unwavering in its support for the LGBT+ community and a woman’s right to access safe abortions, and have called for the Government to stop dragging its feet and ban the abhorrent practice of conversion therapy.’
Labour councillor Kerri Prince said on Twitter: ‘When I worked for an MP, I would google every organisation who wished to meet with him.
‘I cannot fathom that nobody in Keir’s office bothered to check the background of Jesus House. Totally unacceptable.’
Another user added: ‘Ok thanks Keir, I’ll be cancelling my membership of @UKLabour now. It’s been fun, but I don’t like people who pander to homophobes. Bye.’
And another said: ‘I’m barely holding on to Labour party membership Keir.
‘I’m only holding it due to the fact I always believed Labour to be better than the Tories but you are now promoting such objectionable ideas from associates for photo ops I have to hand my membership back and vote elsewhere.’
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