Public shuns far right gathering

Police at the event

Police at the event

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FAR-right group Britain First came to Wigan at the weekend but suffered a low turnout for what was billed as a grand event.

The political party, which has a strong anti-Muslim agenda, has grown considerably over the last couple of years, using social networking to spread their views and generate support.

They are dangerous though and we have to be mindful of that. They are an unscrupulous, racist set of people who intimidate people

Spokesperson for Wigan Hope Not Hate

But their “Britannia Ball” at The Earl of Balcarres pub in Scholes on Saturday turned out to be something of a damp squib with fewer than 20 guests attending and many of them being high up members.

Despite the small numbers though, police were called to the pub following reports of a disturbance.

However, a GMP spokesman yesterday confirmed that upon their officer’s arrival the complainant didn’t want to say who was at fault and no arrests were made.

It is the second time the group has been to Wigan in the past year, following a meeting in Bryn.

Their Britannia Ball on Saturday was billed as a “good knees-up”.

They kept the location of the event a secret until the last minute so, unlike the event in Bryn, there were no protesters to greet them.

However, a spokesperson for anti-racist group Wigan Hope Not Hate said: “It turned out to be a very insignificant event. It was a total damp squib.

“They are dangerous though and we have to be mindful of that. They are an unscrupulous, racist set of people who intimidate people.

“Britain First is a very deceptive group of people.

“They use emotive topics such as animal cruelty that aren’t related to what they’re about to lure people in.

“If people knew the sort of people behind it, they would be absolutely appalled.”

Last week, Lisa Nandy used her column in the Wigan Observer to offer her views on the group.

She said: “Every year we pay tribute to thousands of people from Wigan who have fought against fascism and brutality, upholding the best of British values to the world, and helping to bring about peace and stability.

“It’s an insult to them all that Britain First have targeted Wigan and they are not welcome here.”

Attempts were made to contact the Scholes pub but no-one could be reached.