November 03, 2009

Politics could be banned from Wyre's facilities

Political parties could be banned from using Wyre Council's public facilities after a British National Party rally sparked public protests.

Wyre Council leader, Russell Forsyth, says the authority was powerless to stop the BNP meeting, held at the Frank Townend centre in Cleveleys last month. The meeting, held before the Jubilee by-election, saw more than 60 people launch a furious protest outside the venue.

Council bosses say they had to approve the use of the public building for the meeting.

Coun Forsyth, said: "Much as one might fundamentally oppose the aims of the BNP, the booking was accepted on the basis that it was a private meeting. The council's conditions for hire do not currently exclude any particular individual, party or organisation from using facilities. There is also a right for any election candidate to use public facilities. Any refusal to the BNP could have been superseded by the right of the candidate to hold a meeting anyway."

All party action has now been called for on the issue.

Coun Forsyth raised the possibility of taking action to prevent all political parties from using public facilities but said doing would stop visits like a recent trip to the borough from Tory leader David Cameron, who held a public meeting at the Marine Hall in Fleetwood. Margaret Thatcher also visited Wyre and held a public meeting during her time in power.

"Naturally, following the protests that came because of that meeting, we must do something," Coun Forsyth said.

"But we have to be aware that if we take action against one particular party action against all political parties using public facilities. I feel we should look very carefully at this situation prior to the general election."

Coun Forsyth pledged any future action on the situation would be decided by "the many and not the few" indicating he wanted the issue to be decided on a cross-party basis and not the council's cabinet.

The BNP defended its use of the hall as it is a legitimate political party.

Blackpool Gazette


ex-fascist said...

I'm astounded by the ignorance of this guy. Had to accept the booking because there was an election and it was a private meeting? The legal "obligation" that local authorities have is to provide facilities for a PUBLIC meeting, if requested. If it is a private meeting, there is no obligation.

Now they are looking at stopping all political meetings so as to be even-handed and not to discriminate against the BNP? You really couldn't make it up!

Anonymous said...

Me thinks a metaphorical egg or two is heading for this idiots face !

Concur entirely with ex-facists analasis of a councils obligations under the Representation of the Peoples Acts.

Its the standard of legal advise we have seen and loved from loopy Lee Barnes.