Sir Winston Churchill’s family has hit back at St Paul’s Cathedral after its website described the wartime leader as a “white supremacist”.
The description, which also branded Sir Winston as an “unashamed imperialist”, was reportedly on the cathedral’s site for more than a year despite his funeral being held at St Paul’s in 1965.
A section of text on the site about the state funeral described the former prime minister’s role during the Second World War in “fending off the threat of invasion and enabling a fightback against the Nazi occupation of Europe”.
However, it went on to say: “He is also a figure of controversy, as he was an unashamed imperialist and white supremacist.”
The text was labeled “deeply offensive, thoughtless, stupid and ignorant” by Sir Winston’s grandson and Conservative peer Nicholas Soames who said his grandfather “saved England” from Adolf Hitler’s fascism.
The 75-year-old told the Mail on Sunday: “Even for allowances of some of the sort of more extreme views in the Church of England, this is really going too far.
“It was deeply offensive and caused great offense to a number of members of my family, and representations were made by a number of people.
“I am glad to see that the cathedral’s canon chancellor has now written apologizing and having the thing taken down. I don’t know how it got there.
“It’s the sort of thing that is so thoughtless, stupid and ignorant and does the image of the Church so much harm. It’s such a terrible thing to say.”
The text on the website was amended after Nick Gent, 72, a member of the Friends of St Paul’s, wrote to the cathedral last month.
His letter said: “I believe that some of the language you have used in Churchill’s profile is too heavily charged, condemnatory to the extent that it demonises Churchill. Perhaps this language is a function of ignorance or of political ideology.”
A spokesperson for St Paul’s could not say precisely when the original text was published.
He said: “Information on our website regarding the state funeral of Winston Churchill was recently updated. It was brought to our attention that part of the text within the description was not consistent with the tone of the rest of the page.
“We have therefore reworded the paragraph with the aim of making the description more balanced and appropriate in its context.”