Britain First’s far-right candidate is running in by-elections near the MP’s murdered constituency
Ashlea Simon will be standing for Britain First in the forthcoming by-election in Wakefield, just seven miles from Batley, the constituency where murdered Labor MP Jo Cox worked until her death at the hands of a far-right extremist
A far-right group described as “one of the most active” in the UK is nominating a candidate for this week’s Wakefield by-election.
Ashlea Simon, a candidate for Britain First, is reported to have said: “English people can’t be black.”
Other racist messages were posted on social media by former and current members.
Some of those involved in the group have long criminal histories, including convictions for violence.
Wakefield in West Yorkshire is seven miles from Birstall, where Labor MP Jo Cox was murdered by far-right Thomas Mair six years ago.
He shouted “Britain First” during the gun and knife attack, despite having no apparent links to the group.
Anti-extremist group Hope Not Hate says in a report that Britain First has recently opened a “training centre” for its own defense forces.
Ms Simon, who joined Britain First in 2019, stood as a candidate in the local elections in Salford in May and came second with 508 votes.
She describes herself as a nationalist and theorizes that white Europeans will be replaced by immigrants.
A message from her account with encrypted Telegram in 2020 read: “White people will be erased, defend your people and your homeland before you become a hated minority.”
Another message from the same year read: “English people cannot be black, English blood is white.”
Ms Simon told Der Spiegel her account must have been hacked.
She added: “This comment is fake. I’ve never said anything like that because I have three black godchildren.”
Established in 2011, Britain First has over 20,000 subscribers to its Telegram channel and is headquartered in Manchester.
Although the group has an estimated 100 dedicated activists, it has run in elections across the country.
Hope Not Hate accuses Britain First members of “regularly harassing asylum seekers and staff in migrant shelters”. Britain First leader Paul Golding has been accused by Hope Not Hate of a story of pro-Putin propaganda.
In some places, Mr Golding or his group have denied Russian involvement in the Salisbury poisoning and defended the state’s prosecution of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
“Mr Golding was convicted under the Terrorism Act in 2020 after he refused police access to his phone on his return from Moscow. Mrs. Simon accompanied him on one of his trips to Russia.
Britain First says it “rejects racial hatred in all its forms” but messages from its activists and supporters reveal shocking views.
In February, regional organizer Geoff Miles wrote on social network site VK: “I find… the Winter Olympics… refreshing.
“I haven’t seen a single black competitor and therefore zero whining Negroes crying into their fried chicken that they have been racially abused.”
Hope Not Hate’s Joe Mulhall told the Mirror: “Britain First may not have a large membership but is one of the best resourced and most active far right groups in the UK.
“Britain First works hard to spread its hatred at grassroots level as activists are out and about in our communities on a weekly basis, handing out leaflets, running recruitment campaigns and generally spreading their poison by any means possible.
“It is sad that in 2022 a group like Britain First, which openly spreads racial hatred, is standing for election.
“Within the far right there has been a shift towards whitewashing of extreme ideologies, but Britain First activists make little effort to hide their racist and xenophobic views.”
Mr Golding told the Spiegel he was “under no suspicion of having anything terrorism-related” and that “police have no right to randomly select people and use anti-terrorist laws to try and steal their phones.” to plunder”.
He claimed Geoff Miles had already been expelled from the party.
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Mr Golding added: “I have never met Putin. I’ve praised Putin for certain things before… [However] We do not support military action between other Europeans, period.”
Brendan Cox, husband of the murdered Jo Cox, said: “Britain First are a bunch of desperate attention seekers pretending to be a political party.
“They will spit their hatred but be ignored by the good people of Wakefield.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/far-right-britain-first-candidate-27274903 Britain First's far-right candidate is running in by-elections near the MP's murdered constituency