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Erith Leisure Centre says it “would not have permitted” Britain First to hold security and knife-defence class had its “true nature” been declared

PUBLISHED: 16:08 10 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:10 10 July 2017

Erith Leisure Centre

Erith Leisure Centre

Archant

The private session took place on Saturday

Users of Erith Leisure Centre are up in arms after it was revealed Britain First used the centre for a security training class over the weekend.

The party, which on its website describes racism as a “made up word”, posted pictures of its security team, including leader Paul Golding, training at the leisure centre on Saturday, sparking outcry from residents, who have described the use as “disgusting” and “an utter disgrace”.

Erith Leisure Centre initially said it had “no comment” following the booking, but later released this statement: “On July 6, Erith Leisure Centre received a booking from a company describing itself as a security firm, to hire a function room on July 8.

“Representatives of this company signed the required booking form to comply with the leisure centre’s terms and conditions of hire that include an anti-racist charter.

“On the day of the booking, a number of people used the function room but concealed their branded tops when in view of any leisure centre staff or members of the public.

“The centre management team have since learnt that the booking was made by a group representing an extremist political party that would not have been permitted to access the site had the true nature of the group been declared.

“Parkwood Community Leisure works to the highest standards of integrity and ethical propriety. We are committed to ensuring that customers who take part in sporting activities at our leisure centres do so without fear of racial harassment or anti social behaviour. Any conflict or inconsistency with its anti-racist policy results in the withdrawal of use of our facilities.”

Paul Golding, leader of Britain First said the security class was “purely defensive” and “not public”, telling the Bexley Times: “Our security team is trained to protect myself and the party’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen, in the event we are attacked by members of radical Islam or left wing protesters.

“We also trained in knife defence and Krav Maga, an Israelia martial art, to understand what to do if someone grabs hold of us.”

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