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Methodist church apologises for hosting talk by suspended Labour activist Jackie Walker

    Ms Walker has twice been suspended by Labour in 2016
    Ms Walker has twice been suspended by Labour in 2016

    A church’s decision to host a suspended Labour activist has been condemned by the Board of Deputies.

    Jackie Walker is under investigation by the party for comments she made in September about Holocaust Memorial Day.

    The controversial figure was removed as vice-chair of the hard-left Momentum group last month after she was suspended by the party for the second time this year over claims of antisemitism.

    She later said she would "never play down the significance of the Shoah", adding: "If offence has been caused, it is the last thing I would want to do and I apologise."

    Ms Walker is due to speak at the Chapel Field Methodist Church in Norwich tomorrow evening. The event is a fundraising supper for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s branch in the city.

    Marie van der Zyl, Board vice-president, said: “Jackie Walker was suspended from the Labour Party and removed as vice-chair of Momentum because of her offensive comments.

    “It is against all logic that a church would be willing to tolerate her under its roof.

    “We call on Chapel Field Methodist Church to reconsider the booking.”

    A church source told the JC the church had been unaware Ms Walker would be speaking when it took the booking for the event.

    “We have sincerely apologised to the Orthodox synagogue near our church,” the source said. “We had no idea this was going to happen.”

    It is understood the church will “never” accept a booking from Norwich PSC again.

    A Methodist Church spokesman said the booking had been taken “in good faith”, and the church was continuing to investigate.

    Norwich PSC has been asked to comment.

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