Nigel Farage 'perplexed' by rugby club decision to cancel speaking date in Preston

Controversial politician Nigel Farage is said to be "perplexed" by a decision to cancel his speaking engagement at Preston Grasshoppers next month.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 3:47 pm

The rugby club pulled the plug on the pre-Christmas event after it caused uproar amongst members and supporters.

One even cut up his membership card in protest at the decision to stage An Evening With Nigel Farage - The Man Not The Myth on December 21.

Today a spokesman for the event's organisers Pike Promotions told the Post: "I have spoken to Nigel this morning and, like us, he is a bit perplexed.

Nigel Farage is said to be 'perplexed' by Hoppers' decision to cancel the event.

"At the moment we are trying to get to the bottom of it. We don't quite understand what is going on.

"We have heard different stories and we are just waiting to have some official communication with the club."

Grasshoppers say they cancelled the £75 to £100-a-head celebrity dinner "following feedback from our members and wider comments on social media."

One club official said: "We are an inclusive club and it wasn't the right thing for us."

Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Club in Fulwood.

A statement issued on Hoppers' website by the management committee said: "The club took a private booking with Nigel Farage as a speaker at a dinner scheduled for 21st December 2021.

"The club are not the organisers of the event, but a posting was made on our website advertising the event. This has made it appear that we are the promoters of the event.

"Following feedback from our members and wider comments on social media, the club has taken the decision to cancel the booking.

"We apologise for posting the event on the website and giving the impression that we are the promoters of the event or endorse any political views.

Coun John Potter admitted he would have walked away from the club had they gone ahead with the Nigel Farage evening.

"The club would re-iterate that we don’t endorse and align ourselves with any political party or organisation."

The event has been advertised as non-political, just an opportunity for people to get to know the former UKIP leader away from the election hustings.

The ad which appeared on the Hoppers' website - which has since been taken down - described the evening as "a fascinating look at the life, times, background and career of a truly groundbreaking politician.

"This is not about his politics, it's about his journey, taking on the establishment, cheating death three times, his love of sport, his insight and friendship with Trump the junker.

How the event was advertised on the Hoppers' website, before being taken down.

"It will surprise and enlighten you. A true politician of which there are few left. Be prepared to be entertained, enlightened and surprised."

All profits were due to go St Catherine's Hospice at Lostock Hall. Tables of 10 were £750 for the standard package or £1,000 for the VIP pre-event where diners could have drinks with Mr Farage before the main event.

City Councillor John Potter, a keen supporter of Preston Grasshoppers, admitted today he would have walked away from the club had the event gone ahead.

"I love the club, but there's not point having principles if you don't stand by them when things get tough.

"I just couldn't have supported Hoppers if they had gone ahead with it.

"I do think it was a genuine mistake and I don't think they quite clocked what it would mean to have Nigel Farage here.

"They say it wasn't going to be about his politics, but how do you separate the man from the politics. That's what he is, a politician.

"Hoppers would have been within their rights to put the event on, there would have been nothing to stop them. But I would also have been within my rights to end my association with the club.

"Thankfully the club has made the decision that Farage is not worth the backlash they were getting."

Preston Grasshoppers' general manager Richard Ellis confirmed the club had received "some reaction from members."