The British National Party has said it wants a village hall committee to reimburse it for money lost when a booking was cancelled at short notice.
As reported in Friday's Echo, Devon members of the far-right party were due to host a fundraising Second World War-themed dinner at the Broadclyst Victory Hall last night, with leader Nick Griffin being the guest of honour.
The event was cancelled on Thursday by the hall's committee after personal details of the booking secretary were circulated by anti-BNP campaigners. Now the party says it wants to be paid back money it spent on food for the event, expected to be attended by 150 people.
Michael Turner, the party's South West elections officer, said: "The lady who organised the food was really upset when she heard it had been called off. She was in tears. Because this lady has paid out the money for the food, which will now be ruined, we will be seeking compensation for the loss, which I think is only fair. I'm waiting for the bills to come in and I shall give them to the hall committee. They just cancelled it without thinking about these things."
The meeting had been organised with the Victory Hall committee on the condition that it remained a private event.
The committee decided to cancel the booking when the personal telephone number of hall booking secretary Roy Elkins was circulated by a group called Hope Not Hate, which also published the number on its website, suggesting anti-fascist campaigners call him to complain about the meeting.
Mr Elkins said: "I do not think we should have to lay down rules about who is allowed to hire the hall and who is not. We are an independent committee and should be able to take bookings as we see fit."
The BNP said it would now hold the fundraising event in Axminster tonight and would attempt to lay on transport to it.
Douglas Hull, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Axminster, said: "If people are silly enough to support the BNP, then let them. There are a few local members and they do nothing for Axminster."
Express and Echo