A far-right councillor has suggested that he wants his town to become ‘whites only’ as he launches a campaign against asylum seekers being housed in an Essex hotel.
Councillor Julian Leppert, alongside former BNP campaign chief Eddy Butler, of the For Britain party launched a campaign against the Home Office temporarily housing asylum seekers.
He was appearing on BBC radio and the Russian-state broadcaster Russia Today when he said: ‘We don’t want a Tower Hamlets out in Essex.
‘It’s difficult to put it that way without being called a racist, but we’re entitled to our national identity as much as any other country.
Councillor Julian Leppert (pictured) of the For Britain party launched a campaign against the Home Office temporarily housing asylum seekers
‘We shouldn’t have dominant other cultures imposed on us to the point where you no longer feel at home.’
When asked if he was advocating a whites-only enclave on the edge of London, Leppert replied: ‘Ideally, yeah.’
As part of their campaign against migrants, the party have posted YouTube videos claiming food is being diverted away from residents to feed asylum seekers.
In the video they also made unsubstantiated claims the hotel’s residents caused an increase in petty crimes in the area – something the council and Essex Police have denied.
Last week the clip was reported to the police and other councillors urged those who opposed it to report it to YouTube.
It comes as another far-right group, Britain First headed by Paul Golding, also targeted those staying at the hotel in a video posted online.
Kremlin-backed Russia Today has joined in by posting a video making similar unsubstantiated claims about crime and confronted those staying at the hotel.
One of the claims Leppert made that food donated to the 3Food4U charity is being ‘diverted’ to asylum seekers at the hotel was branded ‘fake news’.
Charity’s director, Pesh Kapasiawala, labelled the remarks ‘inaccurate and false’ as none of the items donated goes to those at the hotel, he said.
He reported the video to Essex Police as a hate crime and the force confirmed ‘enquiries are ongoing’ into the matter.
Former BNP campaign chief Eddy Butler (pictured) campaigned against asylum seekers as the For Britain party posted YouTube videos claiming food is being diverted away from residents to feed them
Conservative councillor Holly Whitbread, who has led the council’s response to Leppert’s campaign, criticised the far-right party’s claims.
The 27-year-old said: ‘I was disgusted by the video, which I believe is deplorable. The video is factually incorrect and inflammatory.
‘As asylum seekers, they are not illegal immigrants and are deserving of our sympathy, not false accusations to raise tension with local people.
‘It is not affecting our council house allocations or being funded through our local housing budget, and it is not impacting local crime levels, with no increase in crime or crime linked to the hotel.
‘All the people staying at the hotel receive Home Office-funded meals and daily support in the hotel. Many are likely to have come from war-torn or famine ravaged parts of the world.
‘I am sure the vast majority are looking for a safe haven to restart their lives for themselves and their families.’
This comes as Britain First members have been going to hotels in London, Essex, Birmingham and Warrington to quiz migrants who have been given emergency housing.
They have been banging on doors and then filming where they are staying.
During one incident in Camden, north London, the right-wing ‘activists’ tried to get into a hotel that did not contain asylum seekers, but was instead housing homeless people.
The council had given them emergency accommodation to get them off the street during the pandemic.
Video footage of five confrontations have been posted on social media and shared by various accounts describing themselves as ‘patriots’.
The first incident was in Birmingham last Friday and saw a group of at least eight people walk into the hotel and try to talk to a man entering his room.
As the man shut the door and refused to let them look around, the Britain First leader, Paul Golding, could be heard saying: ‘It looks like a very nice room that I’m paying for.
‘This is absolutely outrageous, every single one of these doors is housing asylum seekers.’
Britain First leader, Paul Golding (pictured), have been going to hotels to quiz migrants who have been given emergency housing
Golding, who was convicted of a terrorism offence in May, asked one man: ‘Why should I, a British taxpayer, have to pay for your room when there are homeless veterans?’
The Britain First leader was convicted earlier this year after refusing to give police access to his mobile phone on his return to the UK from a political trip to Russia.
The next day Britain First targeted a hotel in Epping, Essex, then one in Camden, north London and another in Brent Cross, north west London.
In a clip posted online Golding followed a migrant who left the hotel in Epping and again tried to question where he was from.
Essex Police said the force received a report of a hate crime in the area after a video was posted on social media.
No arrests were made but a spokeswoman for the force said enquiries into the incident are still ongoing.
Councillor Georgia Gould, leader of Camden Council, denounced the protesters.
She said: ‘We won’t stand for intimidatory, hateful behaviour which seeks to target vulnerable people and sow division between us.’
He said: ‘Harassing migrants who are being legally accommodated in hotels is despicable, and goes against all the values we hold as an open, welcoming city.’
Earlier this month, Home Secretary Priti Patel threatened to deploy the Navy to block the record number of migrants making the perilous journey across the English Channel in tiny boats and dinghies.
Responding to Britain First’s latest campaign, a Home Office spokeswoman said: ‘Any violence or abuse directed towards asylum seekers is completely unacceptable.
‘We take the wellbeing of asylum seekers extremely seriously and we are taking all necessary and legal steps to protect the people in our care.’