Tower Hamlets mayor threat of legal action if EDL march isn’t banned

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets is threatening legal action against the Government if the Home Secretary doesn’t ban the EDL marching through London’s East End.

Lutfur Rahman and United East End campaigners are announcing the move at a Town Hall news conference this-afternoon as the next step in trying to stop the Far Right coming to Whitechapel on September 3.

The mayor wrote directly to Theresa May on July 15 asking for her to use her powers to ban them, but no response has been received.

Other community, religious and political leaders including the East End’s two MPs have all called for a ban, fearing more street disturbances in the light of last week’s riots.

A petition signed by 25,000 people calling for a ban was handed in to Scotland Yard on Wednesday by a delegation led by Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali, London Assembly’s John Biggs and Tower Hamlets council chair Mizan Choudhury.

The Home Office insists that the Home Secretary can only ban a march in London following a formal application from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, but no such application had been received.

A letter from the Town Hall’s legal department was also sent to Theresa May last week, but the Home Office indicated it was not empowered to act until a formal request from the EDL to march had been received.

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So the council is taking further legal advice on whether this is the case when there is “a real danger of public disorder.”

Tower Hamlets Labour group leader Joshua Peck said: “The police are more than capable of keeping the EDL under control, but that won’t stop the tension and anger that could exist long after they have left.”

Political leaders fear the march poses another serious risk to public order after the riots, with the eyes of the world are on the 2012 Olympic host borough.