EDL Shop Hopes

11 March 2013, 11:10 | Updated: 11 March 2013, 11:23

The leader of the English Defence League has exclusively told Heart he wants to open an EDL shop and HQ building in Luton.

Tommy Robinson (right) wants to turn his sunbed shop in Hastings Street into an EDL store, which he's aiming to run as a charity. It would be just a few streets away from Luton's Discover Islam Centre and the Bury Park Mosque.

"Obviously there's going to be a lot of legalities that the councils and people like that are going to try and jump all over us, to stop us opening this shop, which will benefit us again because it will show the two-tier system," he said.

"If [the Islamic community] can open their centres, like Discover Islam, and they're allowed to hand out leaflets and recruit, then we are allowed to open a legitimate shop which will promote democracy, freedom of speech and human rights.

"If we're successful with this, we can look at opening shops in many different areas of the country, and obviously there's going to be a big risk against us which again just highlights the problem.

"Everyone's already said 'you're going to get firebombed, you're going to get attacked, you're going to get murdered.' Therein lies the problem. This is a democracy with freedom of speech and we want to be able to exercise ours without threats or reprisals."

Akbar Dad Khan from the Luton group Building Bridges told Heart that the EDL are "entitled to open their shop but the authorities need to monitor what kind of literature they are putting out in that shop."

Luton Borough Council told Heart "every planning application is treated entirely on its own merits."