Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Sunday, 25 April 2010 13:52 UK

BNP banned from Lichfield Diocese church hustings

A Midlands diocese has banned the British National Party (BNP) from church-organised hustings.

Guidance issued by The Lichfield Diocese advises almost 600 churches against inviting BNP candidates or other "extremists" to its meetings.

Diocese spokesman Gavin Drake said it was within its rights to do so because it owns and runs its buildings.

BNP member James Whittall said hustings were supposed to be impartial and that the move was undemocratic.

'Interests of democracy'

Mr Drake said: "The BNP are perfectly entitled to hold public meetings themselves and to explain what they stand for, but what they are not entitled to do is demand that other people allow them to do it on their property."

Mr Whittall said: "Surely it's in the best interests of democracy to give everybody a chance to put across their views to help people decide who to vote for."

Both men were interviewed on BBC WM's Andrew Peach Show on Sunday about the decision.

The diocese is part of the Church of England and serves a population of almost two million.

It covers Staffordshire, the northern half of Shropshire and most of the Black Country.



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