EDL Makes Link with British Freedom Party

As has been widely reported, the English Defence League has entered into a formal association with a fringe-right political party, the British Freedom Party. The Gates of Vienna blog quotes “Gaia”, who was present the “EDL Way Forward Meeting” in Birmingham where the announcement was made:

[Stephen Yaxley-Lennon] proposed an association between the EDL and BF. He had nothing but praise for [BF Chairman] Paul Weston, “who has charisma, can speak well, and is a jolly good bloke!” He said they got on well with each other and could work together.

…Tommy may elect to join British Freedom, but this is an opportunity for EDL members to move over to BF and for the first time provide input and promote the views of the British working class within a British political party.

This follows a “counterjihad leadership summit” in London in September:

A number of people associated with ICLA [International Civil Liberties Alliance] were present, including Paul Weston, Aeneas, Gaia, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, KGS of Tundra Tabloids, Henrik Ræder Clausen of Europe News (English), Liz of Europe News (Deutsch), and other activists from North America and Western Europe. There were representatives from Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, the UK, and the USA.

The importance of the meeting was underscored by the presence of several leaders of the English Defence League. Tommy Robinson, Kevin Carroll, and Jack Smith were among those who conferred for the first time with a cross-section of the European Counterjihad.

This was just a few days after Weston had joined the British Freedom Party and joined its executive council; the BFP was also represented by “Peter Mullins, Lee Barnes, Simon Bennett and George Whale”. Mullins, Barnes, and Bennett are all ex-BNP,and as Islamophobia Watch notes, they have now stepped into the background:

No doubt partly in order to remove any obstruction to an alliance with the EDL, but more importantly to assist the BFP’s bid for wider electoral support, the ex-BNP activists recently resigned their positions and were replaced by individuals with no known fascist background. 

Weston was formerly with UKIP, and he was elected chairman of the BFP just a couple of weeks ago. Back in March, he was part of a delegation of European rightists to Israel – he and Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff gave speeches at a “small museum honoring Gush Katif”. He has also described himself as a representative of the International Free Press Society – James Cohen of the EDL Jewish Division is also involved with this organisation.