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MP slams Britain First protest against Maidstone mosque telling them to return to “the sewers in which you live and breathe”

PUBLISHED: 12:22 07 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:22 07 September 2017

Helen Grant MP. Pic: Ady Kerry

Helen Grant MP. Pic: Ady Kerry

Ady Kerry

Helen Grant hits out just days after Maidstone Anti-Racist Network offered £10 towards work for every protestor turning up in the town

The MP of Maidstone has slammed Britain First protests against the redevelopment of Maidstone’s mosque telling them “your stench is not welcome here”.

Conservative Helen Grant responded following another protest against the plans last week.

The site in Mote Road is being redeveloped but has been subject to a number of protests by the far-right group.

Now Mrs Grant has hit back calling them “cowards”.

She said: “The limp appearance of a small bunch of thugs in Maidstone last week is ironically helping to promote an important development for us here in the county town; the rebuilding of a seriously dilapidated mosque in Mote Road.

“The site has been granted permission for full redevelopment to create a really great community centre and place of worship for our Muslim community, where others are welcome, from all faiths.

“Our borough council passed the application by 11 votes to one. There were a reported 150 supportive public comments and just 20 indicating concerns about the effect on parking and other logistical issues.

“So how dare these individuals come to our town under the Britain First banner and say this development is not wanted. And how dare they insult our intelligence by trying to pretend they are not racist.

“They are cowards hiding behind a rebranding of their true colours, laundering xenophobia and racism into the cleaner appearance of populism and nationalism.

“They say they are not violent, and yet Thomas Mair was clearly heard shouting words of support for Britain First as he shot and stabbed to death my parliamentary colleague Jo Cox in broad daylight in June last year. Who are they trying to kid? Who are the real troublemakers in our society?

“I had the pleasure of meeting the Imam Dr Usmani and several worshippers at Maidstone’s mosque three months ago, who showed me their plans and explained the many benefits the redevelopment will bring.

“They are presently hard at work fundraising and I stand foursquare with them as the project develops. These are decent people and Maidstone embraces them, as they do our Nepalese community, and indeed myself; all people with an international aspect to our heritage.

“Members and supporters of Britain First, enjoy the sewers in which you live and breathe, but don’t bother coming to Maidstone, your stench is not welcome here.”

The protests hit the headlines recently when the Maidstone Anti-Racist Network promised to pledge £10 towards the renovations for every protestor who has turned up.

A spokesman explained: “Following a German example we have decided to use Britain First’s presence in Maidstone against them. Each time a Britain First member comes to Maidstone to protest against the mosque, we will donate £10 towards the building of the new mosque.

“Eight Britain First supporters were in the town centre recently before they marched to the Maidstone mosque so we will raise £80 which we will be giving to the Imam.

“The more Britain First members that turn up, the more money we will collect through crowdfunding for the mosque. We will use their campaign against them in the most peaceful way possible.”

So far, through donations from well-wishers, the fund stands at over £350.

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