Kent Tory councilor pictured in black shirt at far-right event |  Conservatives

Kent Tory councilor pictured in black shirt at far-right event | Conservatives

A Conservative adviser who was photographed wearing a black shirt and surrounded by fascist imagery at far-right events is being investigated by party chairman Nadhim Zahawi.

Andy Weatherhead, who represents Hythe West on Kent County Council, attended rallies organized by the openly fascist New British Union (NBU), wore a black shirt and was surrounded by symbols associated with the British Fascist Union of Oswald Mosley, before joining the Conservative Party.

Weatherhead apologized and said he attended two events “in the spirit of education and curiosity.”

An investigation last week by anti-racism organization Hope Not Hate (HNH) claimed Weatherhead operated under the name ‘Beadle’ and was a senior member of the NBU, an attempt to revive Mosley’s far-right group. .

Andy Weatherhead at the inaugural conference of the openly fascist British New Union in October 2013.
Andy Weatherhead (circled) at the inaugural conference of the openly fascist New British Union in October 2013. Photography: Hope Not Hate

HNH said Weatherhead ran for Ukip four times before becoming a Conservative in 2018 and an adviser in 2021.

According to HNH, Weatherhead was the NBU’s policy officer and, in 2013, spoke at the organization’s inaugural conference.

He was photographed wearing a black shirt the same year at a rally outside the Greek Embassy in London.

The rally drew supporters of the Golden Dawn movement, which was later banned by the Greek government for violent attacks on immigrants, ethnic minorities and political opponents.

In a recent interview with TalkTV on Channel crossings, Weatherhead suggested he wanted the government to ‘review’ the UK’s accession to the 1951 refugee convention, but denied that racism played a part in it. his thoughts.

“There’s a lot of clever language out there from people pushing their own political narrative […] like “to object, you must be racist, or xenophobic, or anti-this or anti-that”. Why do you have to be? he said.

Weatherhead, who works as an administrative officer, denies allegations that he was a senior member of the NBU or wrote an anti-Semitic blog, but admits he went to two NBU events.

“I completely agree that the optics [sic] of these images is mediocre and potentially upsetting for some,” he said. “For that, I can and do sincerely apologize.”

Kent Conservative party whip Dylan Jeffrey said Weatherhead joined the party in 2018 and went through background checks which did not reveal his previous associations with the NBU.

“It’s difficult because he changed his name, so there was no digital fingerprint,” Jeffrey said. “I knew he had defended Ukip but all this [regarding connections to the NBU] was out of the blue. There is no room for anyone in our party for people with the type of opinions associated with the NBU.

He added: “He has been suspended by National Party Chairman Nadhim Zahawi and they are going to investigate.”

Gregory Davis, researcher at Hope Not Hate, said: “The New British Union is an openly fascist group. They wear fascist uniforms, sell “Mosley was right” stickers on their website, and post racist and anti-Semitic comments. Councilman Weatherhead’s claims that he was simply researching the group are not convincing. »

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