UK Politics

Cameron condemns poppy-burning protest

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Media captionThat sort of behaviour is completely our of order

David Cameron has urged a "stronger" response to disrespectful public acts after a man was fined £50 for burning poppies at an Armistice Day ceremony.

During prime minister's questions he condemned such actions as being "completely out of order".

Emdadur Choudary, a member of Muslims Against Crusades, burned two large plastic poppies during the two-minute silence in west London on 11 November.

Military charities have said his punishment was far too lenient.

Choudhury, 26, was fined £50 on Monday at Woolwich Crown Court, with district judge Howard Riddle describing the poppy-burning as "a calculated and deliberate insult to the dead and those who mourn or remember them".

In the Commons, Conservative MP Jake Berry said: "I'm sure all members of the House would agree that one of the most important jobs we have every year is to go and represent people who have lost their lives in war on Remembrance Sunday.

"It's certainly something I do with great pride in my constituency of Rossendale and Darwen.

"With that in mind, does the prime minister think a £50 fine is an appropriate punishment for those who burn poppies and chant during the silence?"

'Difficult'

Mr Cameron replied: "I think you would have spoken for many people in terms of people's reaction to that court case. It is difficult unless you're sitting in the court and making that decision yourself.

"But I think to many of us, you look at something like that and feel that, as a country, we should be making a stronger statement that that sort of behaviour is completely out of order and has no place in a tolerant society."

The senior judge responsible for sentencing policy in England and Wales, Lord Justice Leveson, defended the judge's decision on Tuesday in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live.

He said: "[The judge] had to balance the insult caused to those who were respecting the two minutes silence against the right which we all have to express ourselves freely."

He also said: "It depended on the evidence and what he heard."

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