Radio Netherlands reports the astonishing news that Geert Wilders, due to appear at the House of Lords on Thursday, has been told by the British ambassador to the Netherlands that he is “not welcome” in the UK, because his visit would constitute a threat to public order.
It is not yet clear whether or not the ambassador has the power to prevent the visit – but the fact that he wrote such a letter is unprecedented and quite outrageous.
Wilders, who as a Dutchman does not require a visa to enter the UK, is in defiant mood.
I’ll see what happens at the border. Let them put me in handcuffs.
The Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen is also understandably annoyed. He has contacted David Milliband to express his displeasure.
the fact that a Dutch parliamentarian is refused entry to another EU country is highly regrettable
(Hat tip, Cranmer in the comments)
UPDATE: (21:05) This is the text of the letter sent to Wilders (from The Brussels Journal):
Dear Mr Wilders
The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the Secretary of State is of the view that your presence in the UK would pose a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to one of the fundamental interests of society. The Secretary of State is satisfied that your statements about Muslims and their beliefs, as expressed in your film Fitna and elsewhere, would threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the UK.
You are advised that should you travel to the UK and seek admission an Immigration Officer will take into account the Secretary of State’s view. If, in accordance with regulation 21 of the immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, the Immigration Officer is statisfied that your exclusion is justified on grounds of public policy and/or public security, you will be refused admission to the UK under regulation 19. You would have a right of appeal against any refusal of admission, exercisable from outside the UK.
Irving N. Jones
On behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department
The Secretary of State for the Home Department is the Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP.
UPDATE: (11 Feb) The BBC report on this reveals that the meeting and showing of Fitna will go ahead as planned, with or without Wilders.
It also quotes the deplorable Lord Ahmed, who is naturally happy about the ban:
It would be unwise to have him in the UK because this man’s presence would cause hatred.
He has a case against him in the Amsterdam court for inciting hatred.
When Muslims are attacked obviously you will see people react to that.
The question is, Ahmed, how will people react? In a lawful manner, or with violence? And if the answer is that they will react with violence, then surely it is those people who should be censured and punished. They certainly should not be rewarded for their lack of self-control by the government preemptively submitting to their demands.