Politicians in South London “deplore” a decision by the Archdiocese of Southwark to ban the visit of a gay author to a Catholic boys school.

Author Simon James Green was supposed to visit John Fisher School in Purley last week to talk about his novel, Noah Can’t Even, which features a gay character.

But the Archdiocese pushed the school to cancel the event.

It is a voluntary aided school meaning it is partly funded by Sutton Council while Southwark Archdiocese contributes to building costs and has a substantial influence in the running of the school.

A number governors were sacked for backing the author’s visit which has since led to more than 2,000 people signing a petition started by parents for them to be reinstated.

The leader of Sutton Council, Ruth Dombey, said she was “shocked” by the incident in an open letter to the church and the author.

She said: “I am deeply concerned about the actions of the Archdiocese and the manner in which it has conducted itself, both in relation to the visit and to the governing body.

"It is very important for all of our students to to receive an education that is inclusive and open.”

Councillor Dombey went on to invite the author to visit Sutton Library and other schools in the borough.

She added: “I am deeply sorry that this letter has become necessary and I hope you will be able to visit my borough so I can meet you in person.”

Although the Catholic school falls in the borough of Sutton, it is on the border Croydon meaning many of the pupils are Croydon residents.

Croydon Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and learning, said: “We deplore the decision to cancel a visit from Simon James Green to John Fisher School, located in neighbouring Sutton and attended by young people from our borough.

"Croydon is committed to an inclusive, fair and equal society – there is no place for discrimination of any kind in our communities, nor in schools with Croydon pupils.

“We are also deeply concerned to learn that some members of the school governing board have been dismissed.

"We will be working with our counterparts in Sutton to understand from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark what has happened and to seek assurances about the wellbeing of our pupils within the school.”

The diocese did not wish to comment further on the incident but last week issued a statement which said: “Any impression that the John Fisher school is anything other than an inclusive centre of learning that allows young people to flourish is deeply regrettable.

"The Archdiocese acted to ensure the material put in front of the children was age-appropriate.

"We are continuing to work with the John Fisher School moving forward.”