A leading brewery has banned a right wing group from holding meetings at a Stafford pub, following an investigation by the Post.
We have learned the English Defence League (EDL), which has founded a local division, has met at least once this year at the Princess Royal on Sandon Road. And last week its 90-strong Facebook page, ‘English Defence League Stafford Division’, was calling for ‘the people of Stafford’ to meet there again. But after the Post informed Marston’s, the owners of the pub, of the EDL’s plans they told us there would be ‘no further meetings of this kind’ there.
Last week, we reported how the EDL, which opposes what it sees as the spread of Islamism, Sharia law and Islamic ‘extremism’ in England and is infamous for its protest marches, had been infiltrating the borough. In January last year 17 protestors were arrested following an EDL march through Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.
As well as holding meetings in Stafford, local school pupils had signed up to a separate Facebook group supporting the EDL’s cause. Local heads voiced their concern over the on-line group and it has now been shut down.
This week, a spokesperson for Marston’s told the Post the group had once again been ‘shut down’ in the town: “Marston’s has no political affiliations, nor do we condone the actions of their parties. However, we have over 1,700 pubs in our tenanted estate and cannot regulate all meetings that take place within them. In this instance we can confirm that there will be no further meetings of this kind at the Princess Royal.”
Ward borough councillor for the area, Bill Simpson, welcomed the move: “It was rather a surprise to hear they were having meetings there but I am very pleased that the brewery have taken positive action to remove them from the premises.”
A recent posting on the ‘English Defence League Stafford Division’ reads: “Stafford division had a meeting the other day and it went well...we can only grow in strength and support. EDL [is] a way of life, no surrender.”
The pub is currently begin run by an agency appointed by Marston’s while a new tenant is sought.