UK's ban of Dutch MP criticised

Should Geert Wilders Have Been Allowed in to The UK?

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Yellow Belt
Geert Wilders arrived at Heathrow but only got as far as immigration

The government has come under fire after banning a Dutch MP from entering the UK over anti-Islamic remarks.

Former Conservative cabinet minister Michael Portillo said by turning away Geert Wilders, ministers had made a "populist twit and bigot" world famous.

The Freedom Party MP had been invited to a House of Lords screening of his film, linking the Koran to terrorism.

Muslim groups backed the government's decision and labelled Mr Wilder "an open and relentless preacher of hate".

'Free speech'

Mr Wilders, who faces trial in his own country for inciting hatred, caused outrage across the Muslim world last year when he posted his film, Fitna, on the internet.

Now he is at the centre of further controversy following an invitation from the UK Independence Party's Lord Pearson to show his film in the House of Lords.

Lord Pearson told the BBC it was a "matter of free speech" and the film would only be offensive to violent Islamists.

I don't agree with everything that Geert Wilders has to say, but I believe he has the right to say it in a democracy
Crossbench peer Baroness Cox

Fitna's opening scenes show a copy of the Koran followed by footage of the 9/11 attacks in the US and the bombings in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005.

The Lords screening went ahead as planned, despite Mr Wilders' absence, although only five peer and no MPs were present.

But Mr Portillo expressed concerns those who did attend would not be the only people to view it.

Speaking on BBC1's This Week, he said the MP held "unattractive" opinions but had he been allowed in he would have arrived "unnoticed to show his film to 30 fairly eccentric peers".

Instead, he said, he has become a "globally famous figure" with thousands of people going on the internet to watch the film.

Differences and debate

Crossbench peer Baroness Cox, who hosted a later screening for the media, accused the British government of "succumbing to threats of intimidation".

She said it was "a very sad and a very disturbing day for British democracy when a European parliamentarian has not been allowed into this country".

"I don't agree with everything that Geert Wilders has to say, but I believe he has the right to say it in a democracy."



Yellow Belt
Agreed. There's too much talk about 'freedom of speech' as though it can ride roughshod over taking responsibility.

The UK is so often the garbage dump of Europe where we allow things that other countries won't. Why doesn't he go over to France or Germany or the Czech Republic to talk to their parliaments and show them his video? Simple, they won't let him.


Yellow Belt
They don't have to pick up the pieces when they go home and leave us to sort out being bombed and dealing with demonstrations because he's gone and upset some people.
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