Far-Right Christian Group Founder Suspended from Tory Party

British libertarian site LibCom has the latest on Rev Robert West and the Christian Council of Britain:

A Tory councillor has been suspended from his party after addressing a British National Party meeting and agreeing to front its campaign to promote Christian values. Robert West now faces a Conservative investigation into his role in setting up the Christian Council of Britain, which is being created as a counter to the vocal Muslim Council of Britain…

Mr West, who is a member of the Lincolnshire Council for Racial Equality, claimed that the BNP had been portrayed unfairly. ‘The image of them as racist thugs is not the reality,’ he said. ‘They want to preserve the British nation.’ Mr West, an ordained elder with the Apostolic Church, added that there should be no interracial marriage and quoted the Bible as his source for his belief: ‘God has commanded the people to separate. We are not equal.’ He said the CCB was being formed to counter attacks on free speech and to stress the importance of the family and the Ten Commandments.

Funny how an organisation “formed to counter attacks on free speech” chose to gain much of its publicity by hijacking protests against Jerry Springer: The Opera (as revealed on MediaWatchWatch), but that’s just the least of West’s dishonesty: BNP thuggery is very well attested, and several senior members have convictions for violent offences.

West laid out his views in a speech given to the BNP in Huddersfield in February, which came to the attention of Ekklesia via this blog (and I found it via a commentator at Pickled Politics, I should add) – my previous entries on West can be seen here and here. This led to repudiations of the Christian Council from mainstream churches, and a defence from the BNP (1):

Some nonsense stories have appeared in the mainstream Christian press stating that the BNP is secretly supporting the CCoB as if to give the organisation a sinister touch. Well we can be quite honest and open about the reality and that is this. There is no secret; the BNP will help any group of people who feel threatened, unrepresented and persecuted in today’s society by Marxist bigots, destroyers of tradition and the wreckers of our communities.

The banners of the CCoB debuted at protests against the Leeds trial of BNP leader Nick Griffin on incitement charges. When Jerry Springer came to Leicester, the Leicester Mercury got quotes from two of the protestors: Wayne McDermott and Susan Keats. Funnily enough, it turns out that McDermott is a BNP activist, while a Susan Keats has had a letter published in the American Daily defending the BNP. The BNP report adds:

A BNP correspondent has uncovered the clear involvement of the Labour Party in the latest attack on traditional Christians which demonstrates the utter hypocrisy of those Christian writers and spokespersons who have condemned the CCoB and its “links” with a political party. His exposé will be published on this website very shortly.

Yes, the BNP will exclusively reveal that Christians in mainstream churches have links with mainstream political parties, while Christians who rail against race-mixing prefer to link up with the far-right. The report also quotes an unnamed CCoB source (Susan Keats, perhaps?):

One of the founder members told the BNP website that she “…felt as if the church has been losing its way for the past decade…Sermons promoting multiculturalism and stepping into political rows are not want typical Christians want to hear from the pulpit. The church has also let us down badly by failing to defend the family unit as the cornerstone of British society and failing to speak out against the frightening encroachment of Islam on many aspects of British life. All in all is now time for traditional Christians to take back the Church from the gaggle of liberal-left wing who are using the Church to suit their dangerous political agenda and that is where the Christian Council has a role to play.”

The CCoB also now has a website (2), although so far it is still under development. Ekklesia notes that

the site was formally registered to ‘Steve Blake’, which is also the name of a member of the BNP’s Internet team…He manages his own IT Consultancy Company in the Stirling area.

The HTML version of the page mentions “Maypole Graphic Design – Christian web design with offices in England and Scotland”, which has no internet presence that I could find.

Meanwhile, West’s church affiliation remains mysterious. The website of the Apostolic Church of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has no mention of him, and the denomination’s leader does not wear the sort of clerical garb that West appears in. The term “Apostolic Church”, however, could refer to a number of organisations.

(Hat tip: Love @nd Rage)

UPDATE: Love @nd Rage receives an email about Rev West from the Apostolic Church:

Thank you for your email and for bringing to our attention the news item mentioning the BNP and a Mr Robert West.

First of all may I confirm that The Apostolic Church does not support the views or the activities of the British National Party. The Church has no political association whatsoever.

On the second matter I am uncertain about who is the Mr Robert West mentioned in the article. One thing is certain: he does not speak on behalf of The Apostolic Church. If this person lives in Lincolnshire he does not attend The Apostolic Church. In fact as a denomination we have no churches in Lincolnshire.

I note that he is quoted as being ‘ordained as an elder’ within the Church. If this person has had any association with The Apostolic Church in the past the only means by which he can maintain either his membership or office is by attending one of our churches. If he were an active member of the Church his views would not be accepted by the Church and disciplinary action would be undertaken by the Church which strongly distances itself from views such as these.

Love @nd Rage adds:

The Lincolnshire Racial Equality Council (LREC) have confirmed that West attended their AGM last November, and that he was a nominated representative to their organisation acting on behalf of [South Holland District Council]. They only became aware of his connections with fascist groups when they were revealed in the media. The LREC have since written to SHDC and requested a change to their nominated rep.

UPDATE 2: Looks like the Christian Council is fizzling out; see my entry here.

UPDATE 3: West has now found his spiritual home with the BNP, after complaining about the number of “women, non-white and homosexual or lesbian candidates” currently being put forward by the Tory Party. However, West’s door-to-door campaigning for his new party has not been particularly successful; one unhappy householder decided to administer an icy baptism:

The Reverend Robert West was soaked after knocking on a door in Buttery Close, North Hykeham.

…The woman, who did not wish to be named, told the Echo she had no remorse for her actions.

“He was wearing a dog collar so I asked him whether he was a real reverend,” she said.

“He refused to enter into a debate about it. I had the jug of iced water because I was preparing for friends who were visiting that day.

…”If he comes here again I will empty a whole jug over his head.”

The woman said she had consulted her local vicar because she was concerned Mr West was masquerading as a member of the church while campaigning for the BNP.



Far-right sites cited, but not linked: