Rotherham MP angry over lack of lack of help available to stop marches in town

Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham
Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham
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Rotherham MP Sarah Champion has spoken of her disappointment at the Government failing to give police the powers to prevent repeated marches in specific communities.

She raised the issue in the wake of repeated demonstrations by the English Defence League in Rotherham, which traders claim have had a knock-on effect on business.

She asked the Government for increased policing powers to prevent marches when groups are seen to continually target a particular area, and for additional support for businesses suffering as a result.

Rotherham has had a series of marches in the town since the publication of Professor Alexis Jay’s report into child sexual exploitation in the town, which suggested 1,400 children had been sexually abused by largely Pakistani-heritage men over a 16 year period.

Ms Champion asked Home Secretary, Teresa May, if she would consider proposals to restrict marches or demonstrations when groups of protestors repeatedly target the same place.

She also asked the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, if he would consider providing additional support to affected businesses.

But she claims the Government responses to her written questions suggest there are no plans to bring in new legislation on policing powers relating to restricting marches and said there was no offer of specific support for Rotherham firms, merely standard advice.

Ms Champion said: “I am angry that the Government aren’t taking these concerns on board. Small business owners are seriously affected by the repeated targeting of our town by the EDL.

“Traders are telling me that they are on the verge of going out of business, because they haven’t been able to recover lost earnings. This is a serious issue and not one that the government should ignore.

“I will be holding a meeting with small business owners this week to find out how they would like me to progress. I don’t think this is an issue we should drop.”