A MASS protest is being planned in Oxford after the head of a German party widely linked to neo-Nazi groups was invited to speak in the city next month.

Alice Weidel, who jointly leads the far-right ‘Alternative for Germany’ (AfD) is due to speak at the Oxford Union on November 7.

The invitation has been labelled an ‘insult to Oxford’s minority groups by a posh debating society’ and condemned by an Oxford MP.

UPDATE: 'Nazi-linked' leader in Oxford: Moran backs 'open debate'

AfD, who are the official opposition in the German parliament, were heavily criticised for their role in recent anti-refugee riots following the stabbing of a German man.

Controversies surrounding the party include plans to encourage children inform on teachers expressing a political opinion, ‘echoing Adolf Hitler’ in a newspaper article, downplaying the holocaust and stirring racial tensions around migration.

The Union have defended their decision to invite Ms Weidel and say they remain politically neutral.

In a statement, its president Stephen Horvath said: “The Union remains committed to the principles of political neutrality and free speech, and we invite a variety of political leaders from different countries and competing ideological camps. In recent years, those perspectives featured and questioned at the Union have ranged from Julius Malema, leader of the radically leftist Economic Freedom Fighters in South Africa, to [far-right French leader] Marine Le Pen. 

“Alice Weidel is the leader of the largest opposition party in the German Parliament. After Ms Weidel’s speech in the Union’s debating Chamber, members will be welcome to ask her questions, and challenge her views if they wish.”

However, the stance is likely to reignite debate about the limits of free speech, no platforming and the rise of the far-right.

Oxford Stand Up To Racism and Oxford Unite Against Fascism have called for a mass protest in response to the invitation.

Ian McKendrick, from Oxford Stand Up To Racism, said: "The AfD has a significant number of neo-nazi members and MPs. It has built up its following by stoking up racism against migrants, Muslims and refugees, and this enabled racists to go on a rampage last month against foreigners in Chemnitz.   

"By inviting the leader of a racist party populated with Nazis to speak, the Oxford Union is helping to boost and legitimatise racism and fascism. At a time of rising racist attacks and increased far right and fascist activity in the UK, this is dangerous and negligent of the peace and safety of Oxford's diverse community."

Mr McKendrick said it was not the first time the Union had ‘given a platform to racists and fascists’, citing invitations to former British National Party leader Nick Griffin, Holocaust denier David Irving and English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.

He added: "We want to send a clear message that racists and fascists are not welcome here."

The Afd have denied that they are linked to neo-Nazi groups. 

Anneliese Dodds, the MP for Oxford East, said: "It is very concerning to hear that the Oxford Union has gone out of its way to court a far-right politician in this way. The AfD marched alongside Pegida, an extreme-right group, during protests in the German city of Chemnitz last month, which featured protestors making Nazi salutes and openly threatening migrants.

"Indeed there is so much concern in Germany around the AfD that a majority of Germans believe they should be monitored because of fears that they will undermine democratic values. The Oxford Union should be aware that this move will lessen its standing in our city as a venue for democratic debate and tolerance."

Oxford Westy and Abingdon MP Layla Moran was also contacted for comment. 

Oxford city councillor John Tanner said: "The Oxford Union must not give a platform to far-right extremists. The last thing Europe needs is a new Nazi party blaming liberals and foreigners.

“The posh debating society should think again and find a speaker from the sensible majority in Germany who support peace, prosperity and internationalism. This is an insult to the University, to Oxford’s minority communities and to all of us who believe in an open and multi-racial society.”