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Britain First leader officially joins Conservative Party: 'Boris Johnson is like us'

The Independent logo The Independent 19/12/2019 Jon Sharman
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The leader of Britain First has joined the Conservative Party, the far-right group has claimed.

Paul Golding was now a paid-up member of the Bexleyheath and Crayford Conservative Association, it said. The extremist group posted an image of what it claimed was an email from the Conservative membership team that said Golding’s membership was now “activated”.

But the Tories said his application had not been formally approved and was likely to be revoked.

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Golding said in a statement that he intended to “help solidify Boris Johnson‘s control on the leadership, so we can achieve Brexit and hopefully cut immigration and confront radical Islam.

“Boris referred to Muslim women wearing the burqa and niqab as letterboxes, so he is obviously a populist nationalist under the surface, like the type of patriotism as promoted by Britain First."

A Conservative Party spokesperson said: “Paul Golding’s application for membership of the Conservative Party has not been approved.

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“While we welcome new members from a wide variety of backgrounds, we are vigilant against those seeking to join the party who do not share our aims.

“There is a process in place for local Conservative associations to approve members who apply to join, or to reject those who do not share the party’s values or objects. We support local associations with this work to ensure they can and do take action where needed.”

A source told The Independent that Golding’s membership would be reviewed, and likely revoked. They said: “People who apply to be members of the Conservative Party, those memberships are reviewed when an application is done automatically. Members of Britain First, and the individual you cite, would certainly not be welcome.”

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the debate on the Queen's Speech in the House of Commons Chamber, in London, Britain December 19, 2019. ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. © Thomson Reuters Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the debate on the Queen's Speech in the House of Commons Chamber, in London, Britain December 19, 2019. ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

This week Britain First called on its supporters to join the Tories to shore up the prime minister’s support base following his election victory.

Golding’s prominent mention of Mr Johnson’s past comments on Muslim women – which he has explained away as a defence of liberal values – comes after the PM was asked by members of the public in an election debate whether he had “personally contributed” to rampant racism in the UK.

In 2018, Golding was convicted of religiously-aggravated harassment and jailed for 18 weeks. His deputy Jayda Fransen was jailed for 36 weeks.

Far-right group Britain First leader Paul Golding (R) and deputy Jayda Fransen arrive at Folkestone magristrates court in Kent on January 29, 2018.
They stand accused of causing religiously aggravated harassment.  / AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) Far-right group Britain First leader Paul Golding (R) and deputy Jayda Fransen arrive at Folkestone magristrates court in Kent on January 29, 2018. They stand accused of causing religiously aggravated harassment. / AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

A judge found the pair had tried to politicise an ongoing rape trial and prosecutors said they could have derailed the case by harassing and abusing people they wrongly thought were involved.

Britain First began as a political party formed by ex-members of the British National Party.

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