A hotel which advertises itself as “the ideal venue for your Jewish wedding” says it was duped into hosting an event featuring BNP leader Nick Griffin.
The Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa on the Wirral, Cheshire, went ahead with the conference despite a campaign from anti-fascist activists to encourage it to cancel the booking.
A hotel spokeswoman claimed that a European Parliament group had reserved the rooms and paid in advance in euros. She said hotel staff had not been shown a guest list of those attending.
The event was in fact for members of the Alliance of European National Movements (AENM), comprising nationalist and far-right parties including France’s Front National and Hungary’s Jobbik, whose foreign affairs spokesman has questioned the Holocaust and claimed Hungary was being colonised by Jews.
It is thought around seven MEPs were present.
The Hope Not Hate campaign group contacted hotel managers to alert them to the true identity of the group but the lunch had already started and the hotel said it was “contractually obliged” to allow it to continue.
Staff called Merseyside Police in order to ensure the event was “kept under control”, the spokeswoman said.
“The 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,” she said.
Thornton Hall has a dedicated web section advertising its suitability as a venue for Jewish weddings, claiming its facilities are “ideal for your special day”.