Thursday, 3 July 2008

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

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)

No comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the policy.


  1. Have the people at The Independent responded to you? Do you know if they will print a retraction? Seems rather libelous of them to publish a false report.

    Pat Kashtock, Prince William County, USA

  2. a) the Rector was not present at the incident; the protesters were.
    b) I know when I have been punched.

  3. Dear Madeline,

    1) Peter Tatchell was present at the alleged incident

    2) I know an agent provacateur when I see one.

    JF Herts

  4. John Foxe. I have seen the picture of Peter Tatchell being beaten up by Mugabe's thugs when he tried to make a citizen's arrest on Mugabe. I know a brave man when I see one. I don't agree with all that he does, but I believe him to be an honest and an honorable man. In his own way he suffers for the truth. I don't know of any time when the Rector of All Souls has put himself in harm's way for the truth.

  5. Dear Madeline,

    and, by implication, you think the rector of All Souls, his staff, and the other witnesses indicated, are dishonourable?

    I find is scarcely credible that if a punch had been thrown that Tatchell would have failed to make hay with it at the time by contacting police and media asap.

    JF Herts

  6. john foxe. You might say that. I couldn't possibly comment.