Labour MP endorses church accused of homophobia
Labour MP for East Ham Stephen Timms has endorsed Jesus House, a church which has widely been criticised for homophobic views
Writing on Twitter, Timms said: "I applaud the extraordinary work of @jesushouseuk, and of churches and other faith groups, in supporting our communities throughout the past year."
I applaud the extraordinary work of @jesushouseuk, and of churches and other faith groups, in supporting our communities throughout the past year
— Stephen Timms (@stephenctimms) April 6, 2021
Jesus House are an evangelical Christian organisation based in North London, and have been used as a vaccine centre during the pandemic.
In 2013, the church's Pastor Agu Irurkwu signed a letter which appeared in the Daily Telegraph which said legalising same-sex marriage would "devalue" opposite-sex marriages.
Irurkwu also signed a letter in the Daily Telegraph in 2006, opposing laws that would protect LGBT+ people from discrimination.
Timms' comments come less than 24 hours after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer apologised for praising the church over the weekend.
Posting on social media, Starmer said Jesus House was "a wonderful example" of a church serving its community during the pandemic.
Last night, Starmer tweeted: "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."
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.
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) April 5, 2021
Prime minister Boris Johnson also recently visited Jesus House but, when asked if Johnson regretted that, his spokeswoman Allegra Stratton said: "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."
Prince Charles also visited Jesus House last month, and former Conservative prime minister Theresa May visited the church in 2017, describing it as "one of the most lively growing churches in the UK."