A Swindon venue has defended its decision to host a show as part of controversial personality Katie Hopkins' live tour. 

The divisive figure is due to bring her stand-up comedy show to Swindon's MECA on November 1. 

But two local organisations - Swindon Stand Up To Racism and Swindon Solidarity - have called for Swindon Borough Council, and the MECA, to cancel the show given Hopkins' history of offensive comments. 

They have written an open letter to the council and venue pointing out that Hopkins has been banned from South Africa 'for spreading racial hatred', and highlighting some of the comments she has made in public which they say are racist.

Swindon Advertiser: Katie HopkinsKatie Hopkins (Image: Newsquest)

But in a statement on social media, The MECA has said that it "firmly believes that everyone has the right to a place on our stage".

The open letter from two organisations attempting to get the Hopkins show stopped points towards her writing “that coffins and bodies floating in water would not dissuade her from the idea that gunships should be used to deter migrants”.

Other 'infamous' examples, the letter says, include comparing migrants to cockroaches and calling for a "final solution" for Muslims. 

A spokesperson for the campaign said: "We are astounded that Swindon Borough Council, whose cabinet is set to approve that Swindon join the City/Borough of Sanctuary network are allowing this event to take place in a building it owns.

"Swindon are in the top five cities and towns in the South West for taking refugees. Surely allowing this racist and divisive woman to appear goes against the cabinet’s proposal to ask members to affirm the Authority’s’ commitment to welcoming refugees and asylum seekers?"

They added: "Katie Hopkins is far from welcoming to refugees and asylum seekers."

Swindon Solidarity was formed by members of Swindon's Trade Union Council after the Honda strike in 2019.

It, along with Swindon Stand Up To Racism, are groups of local residents seeking to oppose the hatred of minorities and oppressed people arising from false and harmful information.

A spokesperson for MECA issued a statement responding to the claim.

They said: "We are aware of the dialogue surrounding our decision to host controversial comedian, Katie Hopkins and felt now was an appropriate time to speak in response.

"MECA has always been and continues to be proud to play host to many multicultural and inclusive events, of which several are organised by, and for, members of minority communities throughout the town.

Swindon Advertiser: Katie Hopkins' tour 'Infectious' is coming to SwindonKatie Hopkins' tour 'Infectious' is coming to Swindon (Image: Katie Hopkins)"As a venue, whilst we do not agree with or condone many of the statements Katie has made in the past, we firmly believe that everyone has the right to a place on our stage.

"The event in question is not a hate rally as it is being portrayed by some. It is a comedy show, reviews of which state that Katie pokes more fun at herself than anything else and we do not have concerns that the event will be anything other than the comedy show that has been promised.

"To limit those able to perform here because they may have opposing views and opinions to us would do a great disservice to the community. In the past we have played host to many controversial figures and comedians without issue and, as a venue, are not willing to play into the harmful cancel culture of recent years."

Several of Hopkins' recent shows in other venues have been cancelled because of the public backlash, including Weymouth, Bedford, Dundee and Southampton.