Starmer deletes video and apologises for ‘hurt’ caused by visit to ‘homophobic church’

Keir Starmer is ‘uninspiring’ says Tony Miklinski

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The Labour leader also deleted a video in which he said Jesus House for All The Nations church was “wonderful” for allowing its premises to be used as a Covid vaccination centre. Located in Brent, north London, its senior pastor, Agu Irukwu, has attracted controversy for his comments criticising same sex marriage and equality legislation.

The Labour leader, whose election campaign for May’s poll had stumbled from one gaffe to another, initially insisted he had no idea about the church’s views on gay rights following the visit on Friday.

But after he was roundly slammed, Sir Keir was later forced to tweet the following apology yesterday.

He wrote: “I completely disagree with Jesus House’s beliefs on LGBT+ rights, which I was not aware of before my visit.

“I apologise for the hurt my visit caused and have taken down the video. It was a mistake and I accept that.”

The Labour Campaign for LGBT+ Rights branded Sir Keir’s visit and subsequent social media endorsement of the church’s work as “unacceptable”.

Following the party leader’s apology, the group tweeted: “Thank you Keir Starmer.

“We are pleased that you have recognised and apologised for this mistake.”

After raising the matter with the leader’s office, the group said last week that it had received an “unreserved apology” and would be holding a further meeting to ensure it did not happen again.

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But the backtrack didn’t prevent the lawyer-turned-politician from attracting further criticism.

The newly formed Northern Independence Party said: “So you aren’t a bigot, just incompetent. Got it. Thanks for clearing that up Keith!”

Another tweeted: “I would respectfully suggest that in order not to cause upset that you don’t visit any church who may have a more traditional biblical understanding on these complex issues.”

And a third wrote: “The several days it’s taken you to apologise somewhat undermines the impact of it.

“To people replying ‘but he apologised…’

“Yes I get and I appreciate that, and it was politically important that he did.

“From the perspective of the LGBT community however, it hasn’t felt that he is genuinely sorry. Once again we don’t know who really has our backs.”

Despite their claims of ignorance, red-faced Labour officials only have themselves to blame over the unnecessary blunder.

The pastor’s views on homosexuality are well documented and can be found with a simple Google search.

And a visit by then-prime minister Theresa May in 2017 attracted similar criticism.

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