Britain First banned from all mosques in England and Wales

Group leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen accused of 'causing community tensions'

Gabriel Samuels@gabs_samuels
Thursday 18 August 2016 19:17
Members of Britain First during one of the group's 'Christian Patrols' through Luton
Members of Britain First during one of the group's 'Christian Patrols' through Luton

Britain First campaigners have been banned from mosques across England and Wales for the next three years and could face bankruptcy if they appeal, after police won an injunction from the High Court.

The group’s leaders, Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, have also been prohibited from entering or directing their supporters to the town of Luton after they were accused of “causing community tensions” in the area.

Bedfordshire Police applied for the injunction after a large crowd of activists marched down Luton high street handing out anti-Islam leaflets in January and were involved in a stand-off with residents in Bury Park.

If Britain First choose to contest the order, they face incurring legal costs of up to £100,000 should they be unsuccessful, although at present they have declined to appeal according to IB Times.

Mr Golding complained the order was anti-democratic but admitted he was “flattered” to be of such concern to police officers.

“People who care about democracy should be screaming from the rooftops about this, because a legal political party has been banned from a town centre," he said.

We are flattered that the state is spending so much time and money to ban us

&#13; <p>Paul Golding, Britain First</p>&#13;

“When has a British police force been this aggressive? In a way, we are flattered that the state is spending so much time and money to ban us ... they consider us to be worrying.”

Before the injunction was confirmed, Mr Golding had said the political group was “finished” if they failed to win in court as the order presented a “direct challenge to our right to exist”.

The group now fears the injunction could create a domino effect which sees other police forces banning their activists from entering certain towns across the UK.

Following the High Court ruling, Mike Colbourne of Bedfordshire Police said: "Luton is an incredibly diverse and vibrant town and we will not tolerate any individual who seeks to cause disharmony or provoke tensions within our communities.

“I would like to be clear that we would never seek to ban demonstrations or peaceful protest, however we have a duty to protect our communities and will always act in their best interests."

Britain First must now provide “prior written invitation” two weeks in advance if they intend to enter a mosque or campaign in the Luton area.

Are we witnessing the death of Britain First?

Bedfordshire Police had previously attempted to ban the group from Luton town centre after a march in June last year, but the bid failed.

Community groups, faith leaders and local politicians have previously complained the group was upsetting residents, a large proportion of whom are Muslim, and deterring visitors.

Britain First, a movement set up by former members of the British National Party, has repeatedly insisted it holds peaceful demonstrations and has accused the police of orchestrating a campaign to "restrict our freedoms as a registered political party".

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments