BREXIT Party bosses have accused Swindon Town Football Club of letting down people in the town, after it cancelled a rally at the County Ground.

The party, founded by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, was expecting a crowd of 300 people to pack out the Legends Lounge at the Swindon stadium last night.

But the event was axed at the last minute, with the Brexit Party suggesting it was an attempt to “stop free debate”.

Ann Widdecombe, a former Conservative shadow minister who is standing as a south west MEP candidate for the Brexit Party in Thursday’s European Parliament elections, said: “This decision tells you all you want to know about how much respect our opponents really have for democracy.

“They believe only their view should be heard, which is the hallmark of totalitarians down the ages.”

A handful of supporters turned out last night, to be handed badges and posters by Brexit Party organisers. Some, however, were cross by the cancellation. Lillian Banks, 76, from Chippenham, said: “I’m furious there’s no meeting.”

The curious Brexiteers were met by half-a-dozen counter protestors, including some dressed in the EU flag. Among their number, Tony Hillier accused Nigel Farage’s organisation of being the “blank cheque party”, taking £25 donations from supporters and as yet offering no policy positions in a manifesto: “It’s a blank policy cheque. It’s a nonsense.”

MORE NEWS: Police continue to investigate Stratton head slashing incident

MORE NEWS: Swindon teenage pregnancy rate hits record low​

Party sources said their booking had initially been accepted and money paid to secure the room. However, the club cancelled the event last Monday, the Advertiser understands.

Announcing the cancellation yesterday, a Brexit Party spokesman said: “This is yet another example of attempts to stop free debate in our country and stop the Brexit party voicing the people’s will. The good people of Swindon have been hugely let down by the football club and are rightly angry and frustrated.”

Brexit supporters last night reacted with anger to the event’s cancellation.

Len Johnson, 55, from Swindon, had been planning to attend the event: “I think it’s pretty disgraceful. They’ve hosted a political meeting previously.”

Former UKIP parliamentary candidate Martin Costello, who announced his defection to the Brexit Party earlier this month, said: “Sadly, it is clear that this suppression of free speech is politically motivated and a real kick in the teeth for Swindon.”

Rob Marriott had travelled from Coventry, via Weston-super-Mare, to attend the event. “The big word is democracy,” he said of his support for the Brexit Party. “That’s the one thing the two political parties have destroyed.”

Maureen Campbell, 70, told the Advertiser: “I’m quite angry that we didn’t leave the EU when we were supposed to [on March 29, the Article 50 leave date]. Even if I was a Remainer, I would be angry that democracy doesn’t count anymore.”

Party supporters questioned why Monday night’s event had been cancelled, when a Labour Party campaign reception had been held at the County Ground in December. Outside a sunny County Ground last night, Paul Banks said: “They’ve cancelled it at the last minute. That’s not democracy. That’s intimidation.”

In a statement, Swindon Town Football Club said bookings were made through a private conferencing company, Centerplate: “We were made aware of the political nature of an event being held at the County Ground this evening and, in line with club policy, cancelled the event.

"All bookings to host events at the County Ground are made by Centerplate, a private conferencing and catering company.

“We have been made aware of an event held at the County Ground of a similar nature in December 2018. However, as this was booked under an individual name, the football club was, at the time, not made aware of this by our conferencing suppliers.

“It is the club’s policy not to hold any events of a political nature and this will continue to be the case in the future.”

Separately, yesterday proved to be a trying time for Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown pressed for an inquiry into how the party raised its funds.

Later in the day, Mr Farage was splashed with a £5.25 milkshake as he campaigned in Newcastle. A32-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of common assault. Mr Farage was heard to say “complete failure” and “I could have spotted that a mile off” as he was ushered away by security following the incident.