A Ukip councillor is gearing up to sue Twitter users in a row over a Muslim family fun day at Legoland Windsor, which has been targeted by far-right extremists.
Windsor councillor Tom Bursnall is threatening to take legal action against users on the social media website who retweeted a story about an attempt by him to stop the popular theme park from hosting a private event for an Islamic organisation.
The story was published by EDL News – an online publication which monitors the English Defence League. It reported an EDL splinter group named Casuals United was also campaigning against the Muslim family fun day. The headline made a reference to a neo-Nazi link.
Bursnall alleged libel and said that 37 people who shared the EDL News story could be contacted by his lawyers. Bursnall, a former Conservative party member also wanted the entire EDL News website taken down from the web - not just the story.
Bursnall told IBTimes UK: "This is a determined attempt by people who who want to smear Ukip [by association] with the far right. They are trying to distort things. I would never have anything to do with EDL or Casuals United. I find them deplorable.
"I do not mind spending a lot of money on this. EDL News is trying to manipulate and deceive people: what they're saying could not be further from the truth."
Bursnall's threat to sue a group of Twitter users echoes the libel action by Lord MacAlpine over unfounded speculation linking him to historic child abuse crimes.
EDL News spokesman Gary Hastings told IBTimes UK: "His [Bursnall's] issue should be with the Sunday Express, to whom he gave his opinion of the demonstration. All we have done is point out that the demonstration outside Legoland is by neo-Nazis. He has the right to reply via our blog, but he's so far refused to do so."
Legoland's upcoming fun day, exclusively for Muslim families, has caused controversy because a radical cleric banned from some UK universities is closely involved with the body organising it, the Muslim Research and Development Foundation. Haitham al-Haddad previously praised 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden and called Jews "descendants of apes and pigs".
Bursnall said his opposition to the event was rooted in concerns voiced by constituents about the potential for violent clashes between far-right extremists and Muslims at Legoland. In contrast, virulent Islamophobia was on display in content posted online by Casual United supporters.
Bursnall said of his constituents: "They are scared of the far right coming to Windsor. I do not think it's good business practice for them [Legoland] to be dealing with people like him who said some pretty repugnant views and not views Legoland want to associate themselves with."
A Legoland spokeswoman said the event would go ahead.
"We certainly do not discriminate in any way," the spokeswoman said. "Our priority is always that anyone visiting our resort, at any time and for any reason, behaves properly when they are with us, respecting both our park rules, and the needs and enjoyment of others who may be visiting us that day.
"We have no reason to believe that this will not be the case here."