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Architecture activist and boat race protester ordered to leave UK

Trenton Oldfield, the co-founder of This Is Not A Gateway who received a six-month jail term for disrupting the Oxford-Cambridge boat race in 2012 has been ordered to leave the UK

Oldfield, an Australian national who has lived in the UK for more than ten years and whose British wife is due to give birth to their child this week, had his application for a spousal visa refused.

The Home Office felt the 37-year old architecural activist’s presence in the UK was not ‘conducive to the public good’.

Oldfield disrupted the Oxford-Cambridge boat race in 2012 as a protest against elitism - delaying the annual showpiece event by 25 minutes.

The Oldfield was initially charged under section five of the public order act, however the accusation was later amended to public nuisance which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

It is this criminal charge which is the basis for the Home Office’s refusal of the urbanist, writer and provocateur’s visa renewal application.

However Oldfield has rejected the idea that he may return to Australia, stating that his wife Deepa Naik, co-founder of This Is Not A Gateway, had never been there and that the couple’s careers were based in the UK.

His local MP, Rushanara Ali, has thrown her support behind Oldfield, as has the campaign group Defend the Right to Protest.

Hannah Dee, chair of Defend the Right to Protest said: ‘There was already outrage that he was sent to prison for six months, two of which he served in Wormwood Scrubs, for disturbing a boat race for 25 minutes. The notion that he has served his sentence and is now faced with deportation is an outrage.’

She added: ‘This has wide implications and the idea that the government can come after you after you have served your sentence goes against the notion of natural justice.’ The campaign group believes Oldfield is being treated harshly to deter protests against government cuts, and has started a petition which it will submit to the Home Office in his defence.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Those who come to the UK must abide by our laws. We refused this individual leave to remain because we do not believe his continued presence in the country is conducive to the public good.’

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