By Patrick Maguire
Demonstrators at next month’s neo-Nazi hate rally in Golders Green should be prosecuted with the “full force of the law” if they “have demonstrated anti-Semitic hostility”, the Prime Minister told the House of Commons today.
Responding to a question from Mike Freer, David Cameron said that the Finchley and Golders Green MP “spoke for the whole house” in calling for the police “to use all of their public order powers to combat this anti-Semitic demonstration”, set to take place outside Golders Green tube station on July 4.
The Prime Minister also revealed that Home Secretary Theresa May has written to Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe about the protest – though it remains to be seen whether she will answer the calls of over 11,000 people who have signed a petition demanding the protest be banned.
Addressing this afternoon’s session of Prime Minister’s Questions, Freer said: “On Saturday 4 July, a far-right Neo Nazi group are planning a demonstration in Golders Green, an area with a large Jewish population. Will my right honourable friend agree with me, and join with me, in calling on the police to use all of their public order powers to combat this anti-Semitic demonstration?”
Mr Freer has been vocal in his opposition to the rally – organised in the heart of the Jewish community by extremist fringe groups including the far-right New Dawn – and the Prime Minister’s response to his question echoed the Conservative backbencher’s previous assertion that the event was “not about free speech but a deliberate attempt to promote tension and anti-Semitism.”
Mr Cameron said: “…where any criminal offences are committed and where individuals have demonstrated anti-Semitic hostility, they should face the full force of the law. We do have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in our country but people should not feel free to extend to harassment or threatening behaviour. That is not permitted and should be prosecuted.”
However, despite his tough rhetoric, it is unclear whether the Prime Minister’s promises – met with a sober murmur of approval by the house – will be fulfilled. A confusing legal loophole means that police will be powerless to put a stop to the explicitly anti-Semitic demonstration against “Jewish privilege” as long as the protestors do not move.