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Angry UKIP campaigners claim they were banned from an Ilford farmers’ market because of “political bias” against the controversial party.

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But organisers say the rule is applied to all political parties and groups.

The group had a stall at the monthly farmers’ market at Valentines Park in November but were told they could not attend the December event.

UKIP member Richard King, who was planning to run the stall, said he was told by event organisers the council had said it was not allowed.

He said: “We have always been called racists and stuff like that but it’s rubbish.

“There’s a lot of bad publicity and animosity but in November it was very pleasant.

“Lots of people came along and talked to us.

“There were a few people who don’t like UKIP as always and we had discussions but it was all very adult and mature.”

He believes the “heavy-handed” ban was caused by political bias against the party.

He added: “it seems the powers that be have taken offence and moved to snuff out open debate and free speech at the first opportunity.”

Mike Allen, manager of Essex Farmers Markets said he was only told of the rule against political stalls after the first event.

He added: “I welcome all political parties at other markets but at Valentines Park it’s not allowed.

“It’s not just about UKIP - it’s getting totally blown out of proportion.”

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