Revealed: The third man in THAT Traditional Britain photo - and what he says about the new loony right

As Tory membership plummets, young Conservatives are breathing new life into traditional, far-right groups

When Jacob Rees-Mogg MP attended a black-tie dinner as a guest of the radical Traditional Britain Group, he sat next to Gregory Lauder-Frost, its vice-president and public face. But in the photo of the group, which Rees-Mogg strongly rejected after its views on race and immigration were reported, a mysterious third man appears. He wears a bowtie, moustache and an air of youthful insouciance. Until now, he has not been named.

Calum Rupert Heaton-Gent is a 20-year-old history student at the University of Sheffield who tweets as @WeltPolitik, with a profile picture of an obscure 19th century German politician. Last year, he joined the Traditional Britain Group’s (TBG) committee. The next month, he attended its Enoch Powell Centenary Dinner, a black-tie bash addressed by Dr Frank Ellis, a lecturer suspended by Leeds University in 2006 after he linked intelligence to race.

Perhaps more worrying for the Conservative Party than Rees-Mogg’s brush with the TBG, which says Doreen Lawrence, mother of the murdered teenager Stephen, “should be requested to return to [her] natural homeland”, is the revelation that Heaton-Gent is a senior figure in the official Tory youth wing. He is vice chair of his university branch of Conservative Future, and deputy chair of its Yorkshire and Humber branch.

The full gallery of photos of the Rees-Mogg dinner reveal a face of the TBG far fresher than that of Lauder-Frost, a veteran rebel whose far-right pressure group, the Monday Club, was banned by Tory HQ in 2001. Like Heaton-Gent, members are almost all young, at ease in bowties, and have names with more double barrels than a grouse shoot. Moreover, they represent a new generation of disaffected Tories, rejecting party politics in favour of right-wing groups wise to the recruiting power of social media.

Heaton-Gent seems nervous when The Independent calls, and immediately distances himself from the TBG. “I feel I have been entwined with something horrible,” he says. “I find their views on immigration and repatriation quite reprehensible.” He says he left a year ago and only attended the Rees-Mogg dinner to meet his political hero. He says the group initially appealed to his fondness for the monarchy, military and formal dress.

A TBG spokesperson confirms Heaton-Gent’s exit from the committee, along with Liam Stokes, an agriculture student, and Henry Hopwood-Phillips, who has described his political views, as “Spengler meets Zizek via UKIP” (Oswald Spengler was a German philosopher; Slavoj Zizek is a Slovenian thinker).

Hopwood-Phillips declines to answer questions. In an email, Stokes says he left the TBG when it became clear it was not “moderate, mainstream, or socially conservative.” Apart from Lauder-Frost, remaining committee members are Louis Welcomme, a Newcastle graduate who did not respond to emails, and George Jones, who declines to talk about the TBG “without my lawyer present”.

The group does not reveal membership numbers, but says support has grown since the Rees-Mogg affair elevated it from obscurity. Oliver Cooper, chair of Conservative Future, dismisses members as nationalists who dream of “society based around croquet and cravats”. He says he would ask any of his members to cut any TBG links.

But Cooper, like David Cameron, faces a growing problem. As Conservative Party membership plummets to as low as 100,000, competition is growing in particular for the support of disaffected young people on the right. For them, like older ex-Tories, there is Ukip. But alternative outlets are increasingly diverse in the digital age.

Raheem Kassam is the director of Student Rights, which campaigns against extremism on campuses. “I spot more wide-eyed young Ukip members in Westminster pubs these days than young Tories, which tells you something about how they’re ramping up youth outreach,” he says.

Young Independence, Ukip’s youth wing, claims to have a growing membership. It does not respond to emails but former chair, Oliver Neville, who was sacked by the senior party in January for supporting gay marriage, says that, perhaps perversely, Ukip appeals to small-state, socially progressive libertarians like him: “A lot of us saw Ukip as something that wasn’t perfect but could be moulded as young members rose up. I don’t anymore.”

Further to the right, young nationalists have other groups to choose from, including the BNP. It too ignored enquiries, but a prominent former member agreed to speak. Jack Buckby is a 20-year-old student once tipped as the next Nick Griffin, the party’s leader. He is also a TBG supporter and was invited to its Rees-Mogg dinner and subsequent AGM. Earlier this year, he was introduced by Griffin at a meeting of the Alliance of European National Movements, a far-right group also supported by France’s Front National.

“I think people view students as generally left-wing but that’s not the case,” he says. “I joined the BNP because it’s one of few places conservative students can go. Conservative Future is packed with left-wingers and dictated to by those with a modern, liberal consensus. It’s not for traditionalists.”

Buckby left the BNP a few months ago when the “open race hatred became unacceptable.” But he agrees with the TBG view that Mrs Lawrence is “totally without merit”. He says he “detests Islam” and fears Britain will become an Islamic state by 2050. In May, he launched Liberty GB. Its “plan to save Britain” includes halting all immigration for five years and abolishing the Human Rights Act.

A prominent recent study supports Buckby’s view that youth politics is veering to the right. In June, generational polling data by Ipsos MORI suggested diminishing support for the welfare state among Generation Y (those born after 1980) and a parallel growth in support, if not membership, for the Conservative Party.

But some academics say that trend becomes fuzzier the further right you look. Matthew Goodwin is a professor of politics at the University of Nottingham specialising in extremism. He says that while radical politics has always appealed to students, Generation Y has only known a multicultural society that is in Europe and accepting of gay rights. “Survey after survey shows that young people are less and less likely to endorse the ideas advocated by radical right-wing political parties.”

Kassam says that while such groups, including the TBG, use social media to appeal to and recruit young followers, the internet is also their worst enemy. “People who are initially wrongly attracted to groups that pretend to be something they’re not are only a few clicks away from the truth. False propaganda doesn’t work anymore.”

Kassam, a conservative member of a muslim family, says that away from the radical fringes, a smarter, politically eclectic generation does not see the need to be represented by one group. “They can be in a union and Tory, or right-wing and Labour - I think more and more Britain will become a nation of floating voters.”

Heaton-Gent is now working for his university’s admissions department. He says he will direct freshers towards Conservative Future rather than groups like TBG. Burned by his flirtation with radical right-wing politics, he is reconsidering his future: “one thing history has taught me is that public dislike of politicians is not new and after this week I don’t really want to be one.”

Additional reporting by Huw Nesbitt and Miranda Dobson

The new right: Emerging parties

Traditional Britain Group

Lifted from obscurity after Jacob Rees-Mogg MP spoke as a guest of honour at a black-tie dinner. Its vice president, the notorious right-wing Tory rebel Gregory Lauder-Frost, who appeared on a leaked BNP membership list but denies ever being part of it, sees Britain as under attack from immigration and an erosion of Tory values.

Young Independence

Ukip’s youth wing, unofficially known as Youth-kip, includes any members aged under 30 and was thrown into disarray in January when its chair, Oliver Neville, was sacked by central office for supporting gay marriage. Several members of the executive left in protest before another regional chairman was similarly dismissed. Currently headed by Rob Comley.

Resistance

The youth wing of the BNP, formerly known as BNP Crusaders. Membership levels are not known but used to include Jack Buckby, a former heir apparent to Nick Griffin, who left the party because of its “racist” views. Last-known leader: Kieran Trent, who was last year convicted of disturbing public order outside the home of councillor who had approved plans for a new mosque.

Bow Group

A rather more mainstream, right-wing think tank, founded in 1951 to take on socialism, the Group’s current President is former Prime Minister, John Major.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ang

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...

C#.NET Server Side Developer (C#, XML, WCF, Unit Testing,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition