A CONTROVERSIAL US preacher is to be paid almost £100,000 in damages after a Glasgow venue cancelled his show.

Franklin Graham was due to appear at the OVO Hydro – then the SSE Hydro – in May 2020, but the event was cancelled amid mounting political pressure.

SNP council leader Susan Aitken had warned that how Graham “expresses his views could, I believe, fundamentally breach the council’s statutory equalities duties”.

And Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie also lobbied for the event to be cancelled.

Now, a sheriff has ruled that the venue must pay the US preacher £97,325.32 due to breaching the Equality Act.

The money will cover the costs which the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) lost due to the event’s cancellation.

Graham described the ruling as a "clear victory for freedom of speech and religion in the UK".

He added: "This case was never about financial remedies - it was about the preservation of religious freedom in the UK."

A spokesperson for the Scottish Event Campus said: "We are naturally disappointed in the outcome of the case.

"We are currently reviewing the extensive documentation to determine whether any further action is required."

Venues in Sheffield and Liverpool also pulled out of hosting Graham's events.

Much of the anger towards Graham, son of the Rev Billy Graham, comes from past comments about gay rights, Islam, and his support for Donald Trump despite the President's adultery.

In 2016, he accused LGBT activists of “trying to cram down America’s throat the lie that homosexuality is OK”, and said anti-discrimination laws in the US would mean that “your children, and your grandchildren will be at risk to sexual predators and perverts”.

In 2019, he criticised US presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for being a self-described gay Christian.

He stated that the Bible defines homosexuality as “something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicised.”