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MP calls on Met to better train their officers following Christian busker shutdown

by Will Hobbs
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Alamy

The Christian busker who was told she couldn't sing worship music outside church by a police officer, has thanked MP Ian Paisley for "standing up for her" when he adressed the House of Commons on Friday. 

The 20 year-old gospel artists, who's followed by over 296,000 people on Instagram, was stopped from performing by a volunteer police officer on Sunday. When confronted by a passer by, the officer stuck out her tongue and walked away.  

Addressing the leader of the House, Penny Mourdant, DUP politician Paisley described the officer's conduct as "just wrong", underlining the singer's rights under Artilce Nine, describing her rights to worship as "enshrined in law." 

"She [Harmonie London] is entitled to sing gospel songs in the streets of our nation as many buskers do and those freedoms should be protected. I hope that the police after apologising will then train their officers to be aware of the rights of all of the citizens of this United Kingdom". 

The Metropolitan Police has since apologised.

It explained in a statement on Tuesday evening that the supposed breach was due to unlicensed busking rather than the content of the songs she was singing.

A spokesperson said: “We’re aware of the significant social media commentary relating to this incident. The clip shows 30 seconds of a 43-minute conversation where the wider context is not immediately obvious.

“Unlicensed busking is an ongoing issue in Westminster and during the interaction, the officer and her colleagues explained the busking legislation a number of times.

“They clarified the breach was due to the busking itself, rather than anything to do with the songs being sung. The officer was mistaken in saying church songs cannot be sung outside of church grounds. We’re sorry for the offence caused and will take the learning forward.”

Gospel singer Harmonie London was performing on London's Oxford Street when the incident happened.

In a video the 20-year-old posted on her Instagram page on Sunday, a special constable told her: “No, miss, you’re not allowed to sing church songs outside of church grounds, by the way”.

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