Royal Mail is refusing to deliver a leaflet by the far-right group Britain First to voters in Rochester and Strood, saying it “does not comply with the law”.
The by-election, due to take place on November 20, is the first time Britain First has run for a parliamentary seat, though it is also endorsing votes for Ukip.
Although the Eurosceptic party is distancing itself from Britain First, its activists have been criticised for posing for pictures with the candidate Jayda Fransen. The Mirror argues the two parties have not-dissimilar policies.
The party was formed in 2011 by former members of the BNP including Jim Dowson – who left this summer because of the group's "provocative and counterproductive" so-called "mosque invasions".
Fransen, who is also the deputy leader, has produced a leaflet focusing on proposals for a mosque and community centre in nearby Gillingham.
My name is Jayda Fransen and unlike the rest, I am proud to be English.I have campaigned hard against the huge new mega mosque that is going to be built on Rochester's doorstep and that is why I am standing in the Rochester and Strood by-election.If this mega mosque is built, Medway will be flooded with more Muslim immigrants. I want Medway, especially Rochester, to remain English – unfortunately none of the other parties do...
But the Royal Mail has refused to deliver this leaflet.
A spokesman told Political Scrapbook:
Royal Mail has a legal obligation under the Representation of the People Act 1983 to deliver parliamentary election mail. Royal Mail may refuse to carry election mail if we consider its contents to be illegal, for example if it is threatening, abusive or insulting, or is intended to cause distress or anxiety.We have procedures in place to evaluate whether election mail complies with the law. In this instance, we consider that the election mail in question does not comply with the law and have therefore refused to carry it.
However Britain First is not going to go quietly.
Its website carries a statement from Royal Mail saying the postal company had received legal advice indicating “the election mail may be unlawful. We have refused to deliver the election mail on this basis”.
But the use of the word “may” was “hardly a legal certainty”, the website argued. “Our solicitors have sent the Royal Mail several emails demanding that they provide legal clarification of their petulant refusal to approve our election literature,” it added.
If you're interested in seeing Fransen in action, Political Scrapbook links to this video of her berating local Muslims for the plans.
She tells somewhat startled worshippers: “We don't want your mega mosque in our English town,” and "The English people in this town are going to suffer because you guys need yet another mosque... I speak for the British people."