A ban on the looming English Defence League demonstration in Luton appears increasingly unlikely.
The Home Office could avoid feared violence by banning the march but this now seems improbable, Luton South MP Gavin Shuker has told politics.co.uk.
Around 14,000 people are expected to take to the streets on Saturday February 5th, up to 5,000 of which are likely to be EDL supporters.
The prospect of clashes with counter-demonstration protestors has forced Bedfordshire police to mobilise around 2,000 police officers as part of Operation Missouri, its attempt to control the event.
Horses and dogs will be deployed in an operation costing at least £500,000.
Local council leaders have pushed for a ban on the EDL protest, as have Mr Shuker and Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins. Bans are only possible where the chief constables and local authority in conjunction can demonstrate they have insufficient resources to police the protest effectively, Mr Shuker said.
"The chief constable is unwilling to take a punt and put it in the home secretary's in-tray," he commented.
Bedfordshire police said in a statement on their website that they were unable to apply for a banning order because recent EDL events had not resulted in serious disorder.
"It has to be understood that a banning order only prevents them from marching as part of the protest, it does not stop them from coming to town to protest in the form of a static assembly," the force said.
"However, Bedfordshire police continues to monitor what is being said in all areas of the media and social networking sites by all those groups who are proposing to attend the February 5th event and should any fresh evidence come to light to support the application for a banning order then this may be used."
The EDL movement was founded in Luton two years ago in response to a small group of Muslim protestors causing a disturbance at the homecoming of the Royal Anglians regiment.
It now has around 90 divisions across the country but is returning to the city where it originated for a demonstration triggering what will be the biggest operation ever mounted by Bedfordshire police.
Mr Shuker suggested the Home Office should look again at the rules surrounding applications - but also criticised the department for not having done more to treat it as an extremist right-wing group.
"There isn't a lot of research going into it," Mr Shuker added.
"There isn't the level of police cooperation that you might necessarily want. Although police forces informally are starting to send different groups of police officers to observe other marches, for example, it doesn't appear to be linked to a broader national strategy in combating this problem."
Home secretary Theresa May told the Commons earlier this week that she shared Mr Shuker's concerns about the actions and impact of the EDL on communities.
"We should all be aware of the damage that the EDL's divisive message can do to communities," she said.
The Home Office said it was not prepared to comment on whether an application for a ban had been made.
A spokesperson said the EDL often holds "static demonstrations" rather than a march.