The leader of the far-right group Britain First has revealed he is setting up a “training centre” in London where recruits will be “drilled” and taught “self-defence techniques”.
Paul Golding, who earlier this year was found guilty of an offence under the Terrorism Act, said the property was donated by a supporter and would be equipped with “a fully sized boxing ring, a huge matted area and every piece of equipment that we need”.
He added: “The purpose of this is simple. Because of our political opponents and the extremist jihadi Islamist movement in this country... we need our security department to be highly trained and professional.
“They need to be well-versed in self-defence techniques. They need to be trained to do their job. Just like a firefighter.”
So this fella Paul Golding has a criminal conviction under the terrorism act and is setting up a training centre to train a group of thugs....lol....this will end well.... pic.twitter.com/wO2R9mPWZK
— Akunjee 🖋 (@mohammedakunjee) July 30, 2020
Tasnime Akunjee, a lawyer who specialises in terrorism related cases, said while the establishment of a Britain First training centre wouldn’t at present warrant police action, it is “worrying”.
He told HuffPost UK: “Paul Golding has a string of convictions. He’s tried to make a name for himself by allegedly representing the very far right wing of UK politics, bordering on fascistic tendencies and making an issue of going to mosques uninvited and unwelcome and causing people a lot of alarm and distress.
“The idea of somebody who already has a history of public order issues as well as causing alarm to a particular community setting up an organised training facility is worrying.”
Britain First has carried out inflammatory actions against Muslim communities including threatening to bury a pig on the site of a proposed mosque, and advocating banning Islam in the UK following the November 2015 Paris terror attacks.
Other actions include:
Protesting against the Rotherham grooming scandal by flogging official merchandise.
Claiming a Ukip by-election victory as their own.
Blaming a terrorist attack on chocolate.
Claiming Barack Obama is a Muslim.
Liking Facebook posts on their page calling for mosques to be blown up.
Throwing a HuffPost UK reporter out of their annual conference.
Being banned from Luton for staging a “Christian patrol”.
Repeatedly holding protests outside the East London Mosque and calling Allah a “false prophet”.
Confusing kids doing yoga with evidence of “Creeping Sharia”.
Invading a Halal slaughterhouse and accusing staff of working for Satan.
At one point Britain First boasted a large following on Facebook but could only ever muster a handful of supporters to attend real world events.
When it was banned from Facebook in March 2018 the group fell into obscurity but its leader, Golding, and former leader Jayda Fransen continued to make headlines when they were both jailed for religiously-aggravated harassment.
A spokesperson for Hope Not Hate told HuffPost UK: ”[Britain First] have always tried try to create fear and intimidation in communities by playing military dress up – whether driving around little towns in an armoured Land Rover, walking about in faux uniforms or using ridiculous job titles like ‘chief of staff’. [...]
“Their only achievement is attention-seeking on the internet. This is a tiny organisation that seeks to inflate its size and importance through posturing and pretending to be competent and capable.
“Tragically, it’s obvious to everyone but themselves that they are neither.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.