Banned Dutch MP wins appeal

By staff

A far-right Dutch MP has won his appeal against the government’s decision to ban him from coming to the UK.

Geert Wilders, a member of the Party of Freedom party in the Netherlands’ House of Representatives, was prevented from entering Britain on February 12th by the Home Office, which claimed he would spread hatred by showing an anti-Islam film.

He had been invited to show the film by Ukip peer Lord Pearson, who told journalists following the ban that Mr Wilders “has a right to say what he is saying”.

“We are disappointed by the court decision today,” a Home Office spokesman said.

“The government opposes extremism in all its forms. The decision to review Geert Wilders’ admission was taken on the basis his presence could have inflated tensions between our communities and led to inter-faith violence. We still maintain this view.”

Fitna, the film which Mr Wilders wanted to show, opens with images of the Qur’an which is followed by footage of terrorist attacks around the world. Today’s appeal win raises the possibility it could now be shown in the UK.

The development is more bad news for Jacqui Smith, who was home secretary at the time of the ban. She was forced to apologise to the Commons yesterday over her part in the expenses scandal.

Heathrow airport authorities refused Mr Wilders entry to the country in February after he flew from the Netherlands. At the time he said he was “surprised and saddened” by the ban.