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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
University halts BNP speech plan
BNP leader Nick Griffin
The BNP said it was disappointed with the decision
BNP leader Nick Griffin has been blocked from making a speech at a university meeting amid fears over security.

He was due to address students at the University of Bath after permission had initially been granted.

But a university spokesman said it was concerned a large number of protesters would create public order problems.

The BNP said it was disappointed that free speech and debate had been prevented.

Bath Students' Union President Paul Jaggers welcomed the decision and said students had spoken.

The row began when first year politics student Danny Lake, a national organiser for the youth wing of the party, invited Mr Griffin to make a speech on campus.

Normally people have to secretly infiltrate the party to get information but this way it is offered for all to hear
Dr Phill Edwards, BNP

The university initially agreed to the meeting, due to take place on Monday, before changing its position late on Thursday.

The National Union of Students (NUS) has a no-platform policy for the BNP, but Bath Students' Union which is only affiliated to the NUS, is not bound by the code.

It held an emergency meeting and voted to condemn the BNP as an organisation and to oppose the decision to allow Mr Griffin to speak.

Mr Jaggers added: "This is a demonstration of student collectivism. Students have spoken and I am glad the university has listened."

Variety of opinions

In a statement, the university said: "Many people have argued passionately against the event taking place, but a substantial minority have argued strongly in favour of it proceeding.

"Some staff and students have registered with us their serious concerns for their safety if this event proceeds, as well as fears of disruption to examinations given the likely scale of protests on the day."

But it said the considerations had to be balanced against the need to hear and challenge a variety of opinions.

Dr Phill Edwards from the BNP said "We are disappointed the lecturers' unions have yet again prevented free speech and debate and also an opportunity for the union and interested parties to hear from Nick Griffin privileged information about how the BNP is making so much progress.

"Normally people have to secretly infiltrate the party to get information but this way it is offered for all to hear."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
British National Party leader asked not to speak at Bath University



SEE ALSO
University in row over BNP invite
10 May 07 |  Somerset

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