The Home Office has consented to a ban by Bradford Council on the far- right English Defence League (EDL) marching through the city.

The decision comes after a massive campaign – backed by the Telegraph & Argus – designed to prevent any possibility of a march leading to widespread trouble throughout the city or damaging community relations.

More than 10,000 people from all walks of life signed a petition calling for the ban, which will prevent EDL supporters marching through predominantly Muslim areas.

Bradford Council can now make an order stopping any marches over the Bank Holiday weekend.

In a letter to Bradford Council chief executive Tony Reeves, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Crime Prevention James Brokenshire, MP, wrote that the “Government fully understands local concerns that such a demonstration has the potential to spark public disorder and to impact on community cohesion, particularly given the disturbances in Bradford in 2001.

“The application from the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police is clear that the activities of some who attend English Defence League protests – and indeed counter-protests – has little to do with freedom of expression.

“So while the Government has set out its commitment to restore rights to non-violent protest, we are equally clear that such rights do not extend to intimidation, harassment and criminality, and that rights to protest need to be balanced against the wider rights of local communities. Demonstrations should not and cannot be cover for violent, intimidating or criminal acts. The Government condemns those who seek to create distrust and divisions between communities, and remains determined to stamp out racism and extremism.”

However, he said that the application from West Yorkshire Police and Bradford Council made it “very clear that while the ban on marches is necessary to manage risks of serious disorder and serious disruption to the local community, a ban in itself is no guarantor of order.

“That a ban was sought and granted in 2001 but did not stop the disturbances that subsequently took place is evidence of that”.

He added: “The real key to supporting peaceful protest and minimising the risk of disorder is continued good communication and dialogue with protest groups and the local community. This was one of the key learning points coming out of the numerous reviews into the policing of protest published last year.

“Again the West Yorkshire Police application sets out how they are working with community groups, urging people not to respond violently to any demonstrations.

“They are also, despite the ban on marches, continuing to liaise closely with the EDL and other groups seeking to protest. Such communication strategies should not be misinterpreted. The police have a duty to facilitate peaceful protest and must rightly take a ‘no sides’ approach when policing demonstrations.”