MP says Lancaster Brexit meeting will go ahead despite cancellation in Fleetwood due to ‘far right extremist’ threat

Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith
Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith
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A public meeting about Brexit will still go ahead in Lancaster tonight, Friday January 25.

Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith announced in a Facebook post that she was cancelling a meeting in Fleetwood on the same day, but has since confirmed the Lancaster meeting will take place - albeit with an increased police presence.

A meeting in Knott End will also go ahead as planned.

She said that communication from a “known source” that monitors far right activity, indicated that “far right groups in the area were attempting to infiltrate and disrupt a public meeting I had organised on Friday morning in Fleetwood”.

Anyone wishing to attend the meetings were asked to apply for tickets online, with the venues being revealed to them afterwards.

Ms Smith released a statement to the Lancaster Guardian on Friday afternoon saying: “Yesterday afternoon my office received communication from a known source who monitors far right activity.

“It indicated that far right groups in the area were attempting to infiltrate and disrupt a public meeting I had organised on Friday morning in Fleetwood.

“The meeting had been arranged as a listening exercise for me and an opportunity for my constituents to voice their views on the current Brexit situation.

“The information given to my office was alarming and led to me having serious concerns about the safety and security of my constituents, my team and my family.

“When I first organised these meetings, as many MPs do, I asked for a policing presence.

“A proportionate, low key plan was put in place.

“However after discussions with Lancashire police yesterday evening I decided it was not worth taking any unnecessary risks and regrettably decided to cancel the meeting in Fleetwood.

“Two further public meetings will go ahead with an increased police presence.

“I am hugely disappointed that I had to take this action and didn’t take the decision lightly.

“Every day MPs face threats to their personal security and that of their families.

“It’s upsetting and difficult to deal with this on a regular basis but is resonant of the times we live in.

“It’s important that we strive to find a solution to this Brexit mess so that we can move on and focus on the domestic problems facing this country – child poverty, low incomes and public services at breaking point.

“I would like to thank constituents for their messages of support and understanding in regards to this matter.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Police, said: “Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith had arranged a number of public meetings and, as many MPs do, had asked for a policing presence because of a perceived threat.

“A proportionate, low key plan was put in place.

“The police do not stop MPs holding meetings and the decision to cancel any public event always lies with the MP.

“We are aware the MP received anonymous information which led to her decision to cancel the meeting.”