A High Court judge has condemned the actions of the leaders of Britain First despite allowing them to march in Luton.
The decision of Mr Justice Knowles, who rejected a bid by Beds Police to stop the group’s leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen entering Luton on June 27 has just been made public.
The judge said the police had not shown the potential impact on the proper conduct of the march if the leaders were not there, and said: “to ban the leaders of a registered political party from a town is a very considerable thing.”
But he condemned the group saying: “Of course ‘Britain First’ comes across as fundamentally and obviously wrong, and even extremist itself when it focuses on Muslims. In these times, which are troubling times, that error is particularly damaging.”
He granted interim injunctions stopping the leaders from entering any Mosque or Islamic Cultural Centre or its private grounds in England and Wales without a prior written invitation. They were also banned from publishing or displaying words or images likely to stir up racial or religious hatred, or carrying a banner through Luton on June 27 with the words ‘No More Muslims’.
In evidence, Mr Justice Knowles was shown a video of the two leaders as they drove through Bury Park on June 3 this year.
He said: “The episode includes provocative, threatening and offensive remarks or gestures levelled by the respondents against members of the public and by members of the public against the respondents.”
And he rejected the group’s claim that its concern was about extremism.
He said: “There is nothing extremist about being a Muslim. There are extremists who claim to be of the Muslim faith, just as there are extremists who claim to be of other faiths or of no faith.”
But he said groups should be allowed to organise politically adding: “Indeed it is sometimes through allowing veiws to be head that error in views can be exposed.”
The Luton march passed peacefully with only around 250 Britain First members and counter demonstrators.