‘Divisive’ cleric voted Britain’s most inspirational black figure

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Agu Irukwu, an evangelical church-leader from London has topped a poll organised by the Metro newspaper and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson to find Britain’s most influential black person.

Mr Irukwu’s views opposing full religious marriage equality caused controversy in 2006, and again in 2009 when he invited Boris Johnson to a carol service at his church, Jesus House in Barnet.

The north London pastor was one of seven clergymen who signed a letter to the Daily Telegraph that criticised the Sexual Orientation Regulations.

He said the laws would force churches to “accept and even promote” homosexuality, claiming they were an affront to Christian freedom, and “Christianophobic”.

In 2006, Peter Tatchell said: “Pastor Agu Irukwu is a divisive character. He divides gay and straight Londoners.”

October has been Black History Month, which aims to champion black culture and history and to celebrate the contribution made by black people around the world.

Other notable candidates in the 61-strong shortlist included Diane Abbot, Notting Hill Carnival founder Claudia Jones and Leona Lewis, as well as international figures including Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.

Mr Irukwu won with 54% of the vote.