Government minister under fire for walking out of segregated Muslim wedding

A government minister was accused today of bad manners and political expediency for walking out of a Muslim wedding in London after being told he could not sit with his wife.

Jim Fitzpatrick, the minister for food, farming and environment, left a constituent’s wedding at the London Muslim Centre, next door to and run by the East London mosque in Whitechapel, after being told that male and female guests were to be segregated.

Fitzpatrick said it was “strange” he could not sit with his GP wife Sheila at the ceremony on Sunday. “We’ve been attending [Muslim] weddings together for years but only recently has this strict line been taken. We left so as not to cause offence,” he said. But the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) accused the minister of turning a private matter for the families concerned into a political issue.