Village hall at centre of BNP row
A council has said it will cancel a village hall's rate subsidy if it goes ahead with hosting a speech by British National Party leader Nick Griffin.
Mr Griffin is due to give a talk at Baldslow Memorial Hall in St Leonards, East Sussex, on Sunday.
But Hastings Borough Council has told the people who run the hall they will have to pay back the £376 they received as a charity in rate relief if Mr Griffin's speech goes ahead.
Council leader Jeremy Birch said the local authority was "committed to equality of opportunity and to community harmony".
"We have no intention of providing financial subsidy to those who aim to undermine these principles," he added.
BNP party spokesman Simon Darby accused the Labour-run council of trying to "blackmail" the village hall.
He said: "It's quite beyond belief what they are trying to do. "They're basically seeking to tax people who don't agree with the Labour Party, which is not really the British way to do things.
"It's effectively blackmail, putting a gun to the people that run the hall by giving them a financial penalty if Nick is allowed to speak there. He's an MEP, he's not some person off the street."
Cllr Birch said he had been approached by members of the community who were unhappy at Mr Griffin's appearance.
He went on: "We have discretion about providing an element of business rate relief to charities. Here we have a charity that is providing a platform within its community building to the national leader of a political party committed to challenging these principles."