8 Aug 2013

Right-wing group defiant after Tory MP disowns them

The Traditional Britain Group tells Channel 4 News it wants black Britons like Doreen Lawrence to return to “their natural homelands”.

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has distanced himself from the anti-immigration group after it emerged that he gave an after-dinner talk to members in May.

Mr Rees-Mogg said he was shocked by comments made by members of the group, after the issue was highlighted by the left-wing website liberalconspiracy.org.

The Traditional Britain Group’s Facebook page featured a post referring to the new Labour peer Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

The entry reads: “It is a monstrous disgrace that this Lawrence women (sic), who is no friend of Great Britain, and who is totally without merit, should be recognised like this or in any other way.

“In fact she, along with millions of others, should be requested to return to their natural homelands.”

Other posts refer to black people as “aliens”, apparently a deliberate echo of the language used by the notorious anti-immigration politician Enoch Powell.

And there are numerous links to news stories about extreme right-wing parties across Europe.

‘Shocked’ by comments

Mr Rees-Mogg, said in a statement: “I addressed the annual dinner of the Traditional Britain Group in May. This was one of dozens of engagements for a variety of Conservative groups I have carried out this year.

“About a day before I addressed them I received a message warning me of their right wing connections. I made, in the limited time available, some investigation into these and put them to the organiser of the dinner.

“He denied that the Traditional Britain Group held such views and told me that it was a smear. My assistant also contacted Central Office who had no knowledge of the group which they could give me.

“I am shocked by the comments made by members of the Traditional Britain Group which I note from the Liberal Conspiracy website seem to have been made after I had addressed the dinner. I can entirely disassociate myself with the Traditional Britain Group as I have never been a member or supporter.”

Links to Monday Club

The group’s website makes it clear that its president is Lord Sudely, the former chairman of the Conservative Monday Club. The club is notorious for calling for the voluntary repatriation of non-white immigrants.

The Conservative party promoted repatriation in its 1970 general election manifesto but severed its links with the Monday Club in 2001 over its views on race and immigration.

The Traditional Britain Group’s vice-president Gregory Lauder-Frost is also a former prominent Monday Club member.

When contacted by Channel 4 News on Thursday the group stood by its remarks on Doreen Lawrence, saying: “We support the Conservative party’s 1970 general election manifesto which pledged to halt immigration and to actively support voluntary repatriation to their natural homelands by government assistance.

“We believe that the current alien immigration and procreation levels mean that the indigenous British people face becoming a minority in 50 years (supported by statistics) and that this is an unacceptable scenario. Adopting such a position should not make us anything other than normal concerned people.

“We believe that Doreen Lawrence is a person without any merit whatsoever.”

The group said in a separate statement that it was not a far-right organisation and had no links with other far-right groups, but said: “We are aware that the BBC and other media outlets describe some overseas political parties which we take an interest in (and that is all) who are opposed to alien (to cite Enoch Powell) immigration into their countries as ‘far-right’.”

The statement added: “Jacob Rees-Mogg MP very kindly agreed to be our group’s guest of honour at this year’s annual dinner and he made an excellent speech on a range of issues. Only one person present asked about immigration levels etc and Mr Rees-Mogg gave an assimilationist response.

“We are a traditional Conservative organisation concerned about the future of Britain and our nation. We encourage discussion on our Facebook wall by sometimes provocative links to stories which have, however, already appeared in the media.

“We are naturally disappointed that Mr Rees-Mogg has been frightened by these media smears and forced to disassociate himself from perfectly normal Conservatives who actually support him.”

The anti-fascist magazine Searchlight said it had contacted Mr Rees-Mogg to try to dissuade him from speaking at the dinner, to no avail.

The magazine added: “The word circulating among hard-core members was that the speech was a let-down, as Rees-Mogg avoided endorsing their extreme views.”