The Met says it will continue sponsoring an education conference in Wembley, after the withdrawal of a controversial cleric who was scheduled to speak at the event.

Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi was listed as a speaker at the 'Our Children Our Future Education' conference in Wembley on Sunday.

The cleric has courted controversy with homophobic and anti- Semitic remarks and by describing suicide bombers as martyrs in the name of God, leading to calls for the Government to throw him out of the country.

The Met said it acknowledged his standing within the Muslim community and his denouncements of Al-Qaeda activity and extremism, but said his comments would clearly offend many sections of society.

"As Dr al-Quradawi is not speaking at the conference we have decided to continue sponsoring this event as to withdraw support at this late stage could damage our partnership with the Muslim community in London," the Met said.

However there was some confusion over his appearance at the conference, after organisers said he would still appear on Sunday.

Met Commissioner Sir John Stevens told the Metropolitan Police Authority yesterday that police had received complaints about anti-Semitic remarks by the cleric, and that these would be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.

However, some members of the Authority said police should show restraint and condemned the way some newspapers had reported on Dr al-Quradawi's visit.