The landlord of a pub which hosted a meeting of the far-right protest group the English Defence League has vowed it will never happen again.
Shane McDonald, from the Princess Royal pub on Sandon Road, said he had no idea his premises had been booked by local members of the movement, which stages demonstrations about the spread of Islam, until they arrived.
Now, Mr McDonald has banned the group from booking the venue again, despite the group’s claims on social-networking site Facebook they are set to hold a “meet and greet” at the pub in the next few weeks.
He told the Newsletter: “Yes they held a meeting here but I didn’t know until they got here and I have put a stop to it straight away.
“This pub is apolitical and we do not endorse the EDL. I have categorically said no more meetings.” The group met at the Princess Royal last month. In January last year 17 people were arrested at an English Defence League rally in Stoke-on-Trent.
Last week, Staffordshire Police said they were monitoring the Stafford group and anti-facism groups said the formation of an EDL branch in the county town was a “very detrimental” development.
Mr McDonald added: “To be fair, they were a good bunch of blokes when they came in. But with their political views it’s just not worth the hassle.” Local neighbourhood watch co-ordinator, Simon Davies, said: “This sounds like very good news. Hopefully this will mean the EDL has less of a platform in the area.” The Newsletter tried to contact the national EDL group but no-one was available for comment.