Nigel Farage's Collier Row Ukip event cancelled over 'threats'
PUBLISHED: 10:43 15 January 2016 | UPDATED: 11:03 15 January 2016
A Ukip event hosted by Nigel Farage was cancelled at short notice because the venue received information of threats to its business and employees.
Thousands of pounds had been spent on promoting the referendum campaign meeting at City Pavilion, Collier Row, scheduled for last night.
The party is now threatening legal action over what it called a “very sad day for democracy”.
Havering Ukip leader Cllr Lawrence Webb was told of the cancellation in a Christmas Eve email, which gave no explanation for the decision but said the £6,500 deposit would be returned.
MEP Gerard Batten, who is based in Romford, then pressed for a reason and was told of the threats in another email.
The email, seen by the Recorder, said: “We have received information of some threats to our business should we proceed in hosting this event. It is for that reason that the decision was to cancel. We simply must consider the safety of our business and its employees.”
The referendum campaign event was set to welcome 1,200 supporters from Havering, Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, Epping and Waltham Forest.
The party had paid a deposit of £6,500 for the meeting, almost £4,000 in promotional costs, and had been in discussion with the venue for three months.
Six days before the cancellation, Cllr Webb had visited with Nigel Farage’s security team.
Mr Batten told the Recorder: “I was very disappointed. They were initially very enthusiastic about us using their premises, and we were expecting a very successful meeting.
“I find the reasons for cancelling the event dubious. They did not provide any evidence of the ‘threats’ they supposedly received. I have to wonder if the owners of the business just made a political decision not to host myself and Nigel Farage because they do not like our message.
“This has cost us a lot of money in promotional costs. I ask them to reimburse us for this money but they seem to be ignoring my reasonable request. I am therefore looking at taking legal action to recover the money. With a national referendum campaign pending this is a very sad day for democracy in Havering.”
Last week, Nigel Farage said he made a “terrible, terrible mistake” by talking about a car accident in France to a reporter, which was branded as an assassination attempt.
The City Pavilion did not respond to the Recorder’s requests for a comment.