Multimillionaire who funded Brexit campaign launches anti-establishment 'news website'

‘Westmonster’, which echoes the opinionated and provocative tone of alt-right American website Breitbart, is expected to use the 800,000 Facebook followers from Leave.EU

May Bulman@maybulman
Thursday 19 January 2017 11:24
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Mr Banks, branded ‘Britain’s latest media baron’ by the BBC, has donated millions to Brexit campaigns and is expected to use the 800,000 Facebook followers from Leave.EU to boost traffic for the new Westmonster site
Mr Banks, branded ‘Britain’s latest media baron’ by the BBC, has donated millions to Brexit campaigns and is expected to use the 800,000 Facebook followers from Leave.EU to boost traffic for the new Westmonster site

Arron Banks has launched an anti-establishment news website intended to herald “radical political change”, echoing the tones of American alt-right site Breitbart.

Westmonster, co-owned by Michael Heaver, former press adviser to Nigel Farage, launched on Wednesday night with a welcome message stating the establishment had “taken one hell of a beating” in 2016 and encouraging viewers to “stick around”.

Modelled on right-wing American news aggregation site Drudge Report and echoing the opinionated and provocative tone of Breitbart, the website is expected to publish some original news content, as well as enlisting celebrities and backbench MPs.

Mr Banks, branded “Britain’s latest media baron” by the BBC, has donated millions to Brexit campaigns and is expected to use the 800,000 Facebook followers from Leave.EU, which he co-founded, to boost traffic for the new Westmonster site. By Thursday morning, Westmonster's Twitter account had accumulated more than 2,500 followers.

In its in first posting, a page titled “Welcome to Westmonster” states: “What an incredible year 2016 was! Seismic political change swept the world, first with Brexit, followed by the election of Donald Trump as US President. The establishment took one hell of a beating.

“The pundits got it wrong. The polls got it wrong. 2016 truly was a victory for ordinary people. 2017 might just be even bigger.”

The statement says Westmonster is “part of the growing movement in the UK and right across the world that wants to see radical political change”, and encourages viewers to "stick around".

Westmonster is modelled on right-wing American news aggregation site Drudge Report and echoes the opinionated and provocative tone of Breitbart

In the website’s first “exclusive”, an article by Mr Farage, titled “World had changed, establishment hasn’t woken up”, accuses the British Government of being “flat footed” following the results of the Brexit vote and the US election.

“As Donald Trump prepares to swear in as the 45th US President tomorrow, the results of the US elections on November 8th still seem to have left this government flat footed to say the least,” Mr Farage states.

“As with our historic Brexit result on June 23rd, no plans were made to prepare for what comes next if ordinary people voted for a result that was not expected or desired by the establishment.”

Other articles published on the website within its 12 hours of launching include one headlined “Brits want Burka banned”, citing a YouGov poll suggested that half of Britons want the Burka banned, and another about Theresa May’s speech on Tuesday, which condemns “remoaners” for “trying to subvert the will of the people”.

The website’s launch comes a day before the inauguration of Donald Trump, an event that will reportedly be attended by Mr Farage and Mr Banks, who are said to be hosting a celebratory party on Saturday night in a hotel across the road from the White House.

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