Shropshire

EU referendum: Campaigners complain over school's Brexit film refusal

Church Stretton School Brexit Image copyright Google
Image caption Church Stretton School said it was not aware 'Brexit: The Movie' was backing the campaign to leave the EU when it agreed to host a screening

Campaigners calling for the UK to leave the EU have criticised a secondary school after it pulled out of showing a film backing an exit.

Church Stretton School in Shropshire agreed in April to show 'Brexit: The Movie' in its auditorium, but has since withdrawn permission.

The academy school said it wanted to avoid being seen as backing one side.

But Leave campaigners said other venues, including another Shropshire school, had no issue showing the film.

The film was to be screened to members of the public, not pupils of the school.

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Image copyright Google
Image caption A spokesman for Church Stretton School said it did not want to appear to be favouring one side over the other in the upcoming EU referendum

Andrew Chapman, a Leave campaigner and former UKIP activist who helped organise the event, said there were "no grounds for not showing" the film, which has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube.

"It was agreed that any legal film could be shown at the community element of the school, which is available for hire for that purpose," he said.

"The Electoral Commission informed us that there were no grounds for banning the film that they were aware of."

Mr Chapman claimed another UKIP member was told the school said it could not show the film due to purdah, rules designed to ensure neutrality from central and local government in the run-up to elections.

In a statement, the school, which has more than 600 pupils, said: "At the time of the original booking it was not apparent to the school that this film was designed to present one side of the argument concerning the EU referendum.

"Upon discovering the nature of the film, the decision was taken to cancel the booking to avoid any concerns that might arise within the community that the school was being partial in its actions in hosting such an event."

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