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Lord Tebbit's visit to Sudbury to go ahead despite controversial comments

Lord Norman Tebbit has moved into his house in Bury St Edmunds (2301318)
Lord Norman Tebbit has moved into his house in Bury St Edmunds (2301318)

Lord Norman Tebbit’s visit to St Peter’s in Sudbury will still go ahead this weekend, amid calls for it to be revoked after his alleged homophobic comments.

In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, the former Conservative Party chairman said he refused to attend church services conducted by gay dean the Rev Canon Joe Hawes at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

The controversial remarks caused an outcry, with calls for his visit to be withdrawn by Luke Cresswell, who represents Sudbury South.

Mr Cresswell said: "Homophobia is not welcome in Sudbury and we should not give platforms to bigots who hold such views.”

Despite the controversy his comments have caused, the events committee at St Peter’s has decided that Lord Tebbit will continue to deliver his speech at the event on Saturday.

Oliver Forder, chairman of the Friends of St Peter’s, said: “We know that Lord Tebbit’s recent comments about the appointment of the Dean at St Edmundsbury cathedral are controversial and that there have been calls on social media for the invitation to him to appear at St Peter’s in conversation with Andrew Phillips to be withdrawn.

“However, we feel that it is vital to uphold the principle of free speech that lies at the heart of our liberal democracy.

“Lord Tebbit’s invitation has, therefore, been confirmed on the basis that there will be plenty of opportunities for those attending to question his views.

“We are looking forward to an interesting evening.”

Speaking to the Bury Free Press recently, Lord Tebbit stood by his comments regarding Canon Hawes, adding: “I don’t accept him as my guide.”