STALYBRIDGE and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds has asked for Parliament to consider when a protest can be banned, in response to a demonstration by the English Defence League.
Initial reports that the EDL was planning to organise a demonstration prompted calls for a ban, so that the group could not shout their messages of hate on the streets of Hyde.
With similar demonstrations by the EDL in the past having left behind them a trail of violence and vandalism, traders were also concerned by the impact the demonstration could have on their businesses.
Two days before the protest Mr Reynolds raised the issue in the House of Commons – asking for Parliament to look at what would constitute the grounds for the banning of a protest.
And in light of the EDL’s demonstration in Hyde, Mr Reynolds believes there should be greater clarity on the grounds on which a demonstration can or cannot be banned.
Following the demonstration he said: "I was deeply saddened by the sight of the English Defence League taking to the streets of Hyde on Saturday.
"Too often in the past, demonstrations by the EDL in other parts of the country have left behind them a trail of violence and destruction. And I would clearly have preferred it if it had been possible to block the EDL’s plans for any protest through the streets of Hyde.
"Of course I strongly believe in the right to protest. But in this case there were clear indications that the EDL had targeted Hyde in a bid to ignite racial tensions. And I do not believe that should ever be acceptable.
"The council, the police and members of the Hyde community played an active role in making sure the demonstration passed largely without incident.
"Together we have shown that we are a strong community that will not be divided by the messages of hate from far right groups.
"But there remain questions to be asked about whether such protests – which caused inevitable disruption for shoppers and prompting a significant policing operation – are really appropriate."