National Trust says Nigel Farage's March to Leave walk not welcome at its properties
The National Trust has said a pro-Brexit march promoted by Nigel Farage which has been travelling from Sunderland to London is not welcome at its properties.
It comes after the March to Leave, which has been passing through Yorkshire this week, had originally been due to use two National Trust sites in the county as meeting points along the route.
The demonstration, which has been organised by Leave Means Leave and was started by Mr Farage in Sunderland last Saturday, had initially planned to use the car park at Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire as a meeting point on Tuesday for the Aldfield to Wetherby leg of the route.
But on Monday after concerns were raised with the charity on social media, a tweet from the National Trust on Monday said: "We’ve been made aware of this event and have not given consent for our places to be involved. To confirm, it’s nothing to do with our organisation or any of the places we care for."
A March to Leave spokesman told The Yorkshire Post today the plan was then revised, with the official coach and bus supporting the march changing to stop at a location close to the property that was on public rather than National Trust land. However, a National Trust spokeswoman said some supporters of the march had still gone on to park their cars in the disabled car park for Fountains Abbey before officials asked march stewards to get the vehicles moved.
It had also originally been planned that the Thursday leg of the march would begin from the National Trust-run Nostell Priory near Wakefield for another section of the march going down to Doncaster. But after the issues at Fountains Abbey, the starting point was changed to a pub car park in nearby Ackworth.
The trust said it had not been contacted by the march organisers about using Nostell as a meeting point but as an "apolitical" organisation would not have agreed to it.
A National Trust spokeswoman said: “We were not contacted by the organisers of the march for permission to gather at Nostell. As a charitable organisation, the National Trust is apolitical, and in view of this we would not agree, nor did we agree, to Nostell being used for a political event.”
The March to Leave spokesman confirmed the march will now stay away from National Trust locations for the rest of its journey. "We are very much avoiding National Trust properties in the future," he said.
The march, which has involved 50 people walking the entire route being joined by 50 local supporters for each leg, is due to arrive in London for a rally on March 29, the original date of the UK's departure from the EU.