No10 defends Boris Johnson's trip to church whose pastor opposed LGBT rights



Downing Street has defended Boris Johnson’s trip to a church which has been widely criticised for its attitudes towards LGBT rights.

No10 insisted the Prime Minister’s attendance was “incredibly important”, despite Keir Starmer apologising this weekend for visiting the same church a month later.

Sir Keir and Mr Johnson both visited the Jesus House for All The Nations church in Brent, north London.

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.

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

Labour’s leader said today it was a “mistake” to visit the church, which has opened its premises up as a vaccination centre, and stressed he was “not aware” of the establishment’s views on gay rights.

“I completely disagree with Jesus House’s beliefs on LGBT+ rights, which I was not aware of before my visit,” the leader of the Opposition tweeted.

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

However, asked for Boris Johnson’s response to the same criticism, his Press Secretary Allegra Stratton defended the visit and offered no apology.

She told journalists: “We remember the visit to Jesus House well because that day it was the site of a pop-up centre for vaccines.

“And one of the main jobs inside government over the last few weeks and months has been driving up vaccine take-up in communities that are hesitant about taking it – most notably the Black community.

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“That was the purpose of his visit that day. It was a profitable visit where he was able to meet black community leaders and work to increase vaccine take-up and deal with vaccine hesitancy.

“So it was an incredibly important visit, making sure every aspect of the population feels confident in and takes the vaccine is a top priority for this government.”

Praising the LGBT rights record of Mr Johnson, who referred to “tank-topped bum boys” in a 1998 article, she added: “Hopefully people don’t need reminding, but in case they do, this is a government that is fully committed to advancing LGBT rights and championing equality”.





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