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MEP In Dale Farm Removal Complaint
An MEP who was ejected from the UK's largest illegal travellers site in Essex has complained to the European Parliament that his freedom of expression was denied.
Richard Howitt, Labour MEP for the East of England, also claims the integrity of Parliament was damaged when he was "forcibly" removed from the media pen at Dale Farm during the multi-million pound eviction of travellers.
A spokesman for Mr Howitt, who publicly backed residents on the site, said the European Parliament is asking the British Government to respond to the claims.
Mr Howitt was removed from the site on October 19th as protests against bailiffs descended into violence.
A spokesman for the MEP said that Basildon Council ordered its own security staff to "physically manhandle" Mr Howitt - who had entered the media compound, which was organised by the council, on invitation of a regional news programme.
At the time, Basildon Council said that Mr Howitt was removed after he "tricked" his way in to the media facility.
A council spokesman said Mr Howitt had been warned both verbally and in writing that he could not enter the site for security reasons and was told he could visit the following day.
In a speech to the European Parliament, Mr Howitt said: "For a public authority to use its powers to enable the views of one political party to be heard and to inhibit those of another, is an unfair, unjustifiable and unreasonable interference in my rights, which should be defended by the Parliament of which I am proud to be a Member."
Mr Howitt said he has lodged a formal complaint to Basildon Council about its actions.
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