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Council settles dispute with evangelical preacher it initially banned from holding event

A controversial evangelical preacher will host an event in Sheffield after taking legal action to overturn a ban imposed by the city council.

Franklin Graham, an evangelical preacher from the United States, was told in January 2020 that his event could not go ahead by Sheffield City Council.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) went on to file a legal claim for breach of contract, according to a report from the Huddersfield Daily Examiner.

A council spokesperson has now confirmed that the council has rescinded its ban. According to the council, both parties have, "with no admission of liability", agreed confidential terms for the settlement of the dispute.

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"The parties are content that the dispute has been resolved and are content with the confidential terms agreed," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added: "As a council we are committed to the values of equality, diversity and inclusion and believe wholeheartedly that everyone has a right to enjoy and feel safe and supported in the City of Sheffield without discrimination or harassment. We recognise that the law around freedom of expression allows for a plurality of views including those with which the council vehemently disagrees."

As part of the settlement, BGEA is entitled to hold its event in the Sheffield Arena, scheduled for 25 May 2022.

The manager for Roy Chubby Brown, the subject of a similar ban by Sheffield on performing at its venues, told the Huddersfield Daily Examiner that the comedian wouldn't be pursuing legal action.

In July this year Blackpool Council and its wholly owned company Blackpool Transport Services were ordered to pay £109,000 in damages and costs to a religious organisation run by Mr Graham after refusing to advertise a rally on buses.

Adam Carey

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