12 Feb 2009

Far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders refused entry to UK

Geert Wilders, the rightwing Dutch politician accused of Islamophobia, was today refused entry to the UK after arriving at Heathrow airport in London.

Wilders was due to show his 17-minute film Fitna, which criticises the Qur'an as a "fascist book", at the House of Lords today. But on Tuesday he received a letter from the Home Office refusing him entry because his opinions "threaten community harmony and therefore public safety".

Far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders arrives at Heathrow airport

He arrived at Heathrow shortly after 2pm and was questioned by immigration officials.

On the plane from Amsterdam, the controversial leader of the Freedom party told Dutch journalists he had travelled to Britain in December without any fuss. "I don't see why there's a problem with me this time," he said. "I don't understand why they allowed me to come before and not now." Asked whether he had a message for the UK government, he said: "I would say to them, 'Even if you don't like me and don't like the things I say then you should let me in for freedom of speech. If you don't, you are looking like cowards.'"