MP Theresa Villiers has welcomed a cross-party pledge to spend £1million on rebuilding an Islamic community centre that was destroyed in an apparent arson attack.

Barnet Borough Council’s Conservative and Labour leaders have both said they would rebuild the Somalian Islamic Bravanese Welfare Centre, in Coppetts Road, Muswell Hill, if they are elected on May 22.

The centre was burnt down last June, and fire investigators later found the letters EDL – the initials of far-right anti-Islamist group the English Defence League – scrawled on the remains of the building.

Ms Villiers has dubbed the fire a “hate crime” and is hopeful the new centre can be a place for people from different faiths to “live harmoniously”.

She said: “I fully support the move to build a new centre for the Bravanese Somali community after the disgraceful arson attack on their old building.

"The proposal for the new building to be shared with other faith groups is in line with the diverse nature of our borough and its long-standing reputation as a place where people of many different faiths and ethnic backgrounds can live harmoniously together."

Three suitable locations for the new centre are being discussed, including its old headquarters in Coppetts Road.