The venue set to host the British National Party's controversial Christmas party tonight has pulled the plug on it after a host of complaints.
The Ore Community Centre in London Road had been hired by the party to stage its festive fundraiser at a cost of £10 an hour. However, the BNP sparked widespread outrage after announcing it would be selling Golliwog dolls at the event alongside St George crosses, Union Jacks and BNP regalia.
Critics branded the dolls racist and condemned the BNP as biggotted far-right extremists - demanding to know why a community centre would allow such a group to use its facilities.
At the time (last Thursday) a spokesman for the centre said the BNP used the hall on a monthly basis and that they "had never had any problems with them". However, he later confirmed a meeting would take place to decide whether or not the BNP was a suitable client. Now, hours before the event was set to take place, it seems the committee has decided to ban the right-wing party - much to the disgust of its local organiser.
BNP bigwig Nick Prince has slammed the decision. He said: "The British National Party has used the venue since April 1 2008 and has always treated the venue with total respect and there had never been a problem or an incident."
He claimed he was informed by telephone and told the decision was taken after pressure from certain individuals - individuals Mr Prince believes include a host of local politicians. Hastings MP Michael Foster and local Labour leader Jeremy Birch were among those who criticised the controversial BNP last week.
Mr Prince said: "I believe it is pressure from the likes of Cllr Birch and Mr Foster that has started this. A community centre should be used by all for all and there is no reason for the British National Party not to be allowed to use it."
The Christmas party, which was set to include a quiz and Activist of the Year prize, was due to be picketed by anti-fascist protestors. Representatives from Hastings and District Trades Council, Unite Against Fascism and Love Music Hate Racism had all planned to protest against the BNP outside tonight's event.
Hastings and St. Leonards Observer