Wirral’s Thornton Hall Hotel says it was duped into hosting conference for far right activists

A MERSEYSIDE hotel claimed it was ‘duped’ into hosting a conference for far right activists.

Around 50 members of the British National Party and allied European political parties are believed to have attended the event at four star Thornton Hall Hotel in Thornton Hough, Wirral, on Tuesday.

The booking was made in the name of a European political research group and it is understood staff only realised who the delegates were when they arrived.

The far right party’s leader Nick Griffin later posted a photo of the gathering on Twitter, calling it “delegates at our Alliance of National Movements conference near Chester”.

Anti-racism campaign group Hope Not Hate shared the same photo on social networking sites and urged supporters to contact the hotel to complain about the booking.

It claimed delegates at the conference included other well-known BNP members and activists from far right groups in France and Sweden.

Thornton Hall’s Facebook page could not be accessed yesterday after being flooded with angry messages of protest.

The hotel, which promotes itself as a venue for Asian and Jewish weddings, said it regretted any offence caused.

A spokesman said: “The conference facilities at Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa are used by a vast range of organisations including political parties and members of the European Parliament.

“On this occasion we received a booking on behalf of the European Social Political and Economic Research Establishment.

“The identities of the delegates were not revealed to us until the guests arrived on the day, at which stage we were bound by a contractual arrangement.

“We have a strong duty of care to our guests, staff and the local community and we ensured that the event caused no disruption.

“Thornton Hall Hotel would never knowingly allow an event of this nature to take place and we regret any offence or distress caused or taken by the presence of this conference.”

Merseyside Police confirmed officers attended as a precaution but the conference passed without incident.

MP for Wirral South Alison McGovern said: “Clearly the hotel was not expecting a conference of this nature and once the situation became clear they ensured there was no disruption.”

The BNP did not return calls asking for a comment.

From the Liverpool Echo. 26.07.12. Report by Lorna Hughes. 

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