Thursday, 3 July 2008

From the Rector of All Souls to the Editor of The Independent newspaper

Dear Sir

You published an article today under the headline "Anglican rebels punched gay rights activists". [Here.]

As the alleged incident took place at the church of which I am Rector I have spent some time today trying to track down details concerning the alleged incident. The following seem to me to be relevant.

1. The event was oversubscribed and no-one was therefore admitted without a ticket they had paid for. This was true regardless of rank, sexuality etc.

2. The activists attempted to enter through a fire door entrance, pushed one of my staff members who admits that he pushed them back out of the door and closed it. He denies any punch was thrown as does another member of staff who witnessed the event.

3. I have spoken to a number of people including two members of staff who had conversations with Peter Tatchell on the steps of the church and no reference was made to any of them about any alleged punch.

4. No member of staff that I can find, or anyone else that I have spoken to, was approached by your reporter to confirm or explain the allegation.

The fact that you have headlined this damaging allegation without checking or substantiating it seems at least unprofessional journalism and not the kind of reporting I would expect from a serious newspaper like The Independent. Would you please take steps to remedy the damage you have caused immediately.

Yours sincerely

Hugh Palmer
(Rector, All Souls Church)

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