UKIP MP Douglas Carswell ‘banned’ from holding meeting in Cambridgeshire library - but if anyone is to ‘blame’ look no further than UKIP councillor Peter Reeve!
PUBLISHED: 13:52 20 April 2016 | UPDATED: 13:52 20 April 2016
Britain’s only UKIP MP Douglas Carswell was banned from holding a public meeting at a Cambridgeshire library last night – and local UKIP county councillor Peter Reeve was to blame!
Mr Carswell was due to join UKIP’s police commissioner candidate Nick Clarke at an advertised meeting at Ramsey library.
Mr Clarke says that an hour before the scheduled meeting was due to start they were told the library was no longer available to them.
But it was not, as Mr Clarke, some potential ‘conspiracy’ that caused the cancellation but a discussion by Cllr Reeve with the county council of election law.
A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said: “We apologise for the mix-up with the booking for this meeting.
“During times of elections a period known as purdah applies to councils which mean it is against the law for staff and their buildings to be used to promote any political party.
“The council is currently in that period due to upcoming local elections.”
But why didn’t the county act earlier? That was also explained by the council spokesman.
“We would like to thank Councillor Reeve who alerted us yesterday to the fact this may cause a problem for this meeting after we had spoken to him about the library being used for councillor surgeries.
“Within half an hour we had taken legal advice and confirmed to him that we would be breaking purdah and the law if we allowed it to happen. We apologise that this happened at very short notice and glad they were able to find alternative arrangements.”
Mr Clarke said: “UKIP had arranged a public meeting to be held tonight in Ramsey library. Douglas Carswell and I were booked to speak.
“The library had been booked, it was clear it was a political meeting, and we were going to pay for it.”
Mr Clarke said: “One hour before the meeting we were told we could not use the library. We don’t know why but could guess.”
The former leader of Cambridgeshire County Council added: “It seems it is not just nationally that the Conservatives want to shut down debate.”
The meeting still went ahead – in the George Hotel. The hotel, parts of which date back to the 17th century, advertises itself as “a great place to stay”.
Mr Clarke added: “We had a great crowd.”
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