Liverpool leaders attempt to withdraw licence from Wavertree club that hosted BNP conference
CITY leaders are attempting to have a Liverpool club’s licence revoked after it hosted the annual conference of the British National Party (BNP).
They are applying to licensing bosses to come down hard on the Cricketers Club in Wavertree after the October event, which prompted protests outside its Long Lane site.
Merseyside Police are also bidding to have the licence curbed on the basis of incidents of alleged under-age drinking and assault in the premises.
But the club denied the underage drinking allegations, while the BNP accused city bosses and the police of a “sinister” witch-hunt.
The club’s spokesman said he had not been aware it was the far-right extremist group who had booked the venue – for around £1,000 – until a week before, and it had been booked in the name of a “private individual”.
A copy of the booking request form, obtained by the ECHO, was signed in the name of party leader Nick Griffin six weeks before the event.
Wavertree Cllr Jake Morrison, who is leading the campaign to see the venue stripped of its licence, said: “I think the licence should be removed altogether. It’s clear from the 45 residents who have also objected to the licence that they’re terribly unhappy to have the BNP in the area.”
Council leader Cllr Joe Anderson, who joined the protests outside the venue for the two-day conference, has also submitted an objection to the renewal, writing that by hosting the BNP the club had “caused a potentially dangerous situation to develop with no regard for the community in which their pub is based”.
The club spokesman, who did not wish to be named, denied the allegations of underage drinking but confirmed there had been a violent incident on one occasion which was swiftly dealt with.
He added: “The response we’ve had from people, saying Joe Anderson was out of order, has been tremendous.”
He added: “All we have done is hire a room out, which is our business, and there was no trouble until the councillors and demonstrators came and started shouting and screaming at by-passers and people going to other functions.”
BNP spokesman Simon Darby added: “I feel very sorry for the owners because they’ve done nothing wrong. It’s a bit unhealthy if you think about it. It’s very sinister that (the club) should come under pressure from the police.”
Merseyside Police wants conditions imposed on the club, including identity scanners used from 8pm on weekends, door staff on site and alcohol not to be sold after 2am.
A spokesman for Merseyside Police added: “The Force can confirm it will be putting forward representation at the upcoming licensing hearing for the Cricketers. As the hearing has not taken place it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”
The licensing committee will meet on January 30.