Far-right 'yellow vest' Brexiteers chase Anna Soubry shouting 'traitor' and 'Hitler'

Far-right 'yellow vest' group heckling politicians and journalists, after blocking London bridggs

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
,Samuel Osborne
Thursday 20 December 2018 12:45 GMT
Brexit protesters shout traitor and Hitler jibes at Anna Soubry as she walks down street

A group of far-right Brexiteers calling themselves the “yellow vests” have been condemned for surrounding a pro-Remain MP and calling her a “traitor”.

The group filmed themselves harassing Anna Soubry in their latest stunt, which followed days of roving protests around Westminster and central London.

Starting on 14 December, the self-named “yellow vests” have blocked bridges over the River Thames, roads, entrances to Parliament and government buildings.

The group was condemned for blocking an ambulance on Westminster Bridge on its first day of demonstrations, although it was let through shortly afterwards.

Live Facebook broadcasts have shown the “yellow vests” shouting verbal abuse through a megaphone at pro-Remain protesters and journalists broadcasting from outside the Palace of Westminster, with Sky’s Kay Burley singled out as a particular target.

On Wednesday, supporters in Durham blocked a “Bollocks to Brexit” bus and called those on board “Nazi scum” and “traitors”.

Meanwhile in London, leader James Goddard told Ms Soubry she was a “traitor” – the same term used by neo-Nazis to describe the murdered Labour MP Jo Cox.

Ms Soubry was flanked by police officers who told the protesters, who have appropriated the high-visibility yellow vests worn in demonstrations that turned violent in France, to move back.

While repeatedly getting her name wrong, Mr Goddard filmed himself calling the MP a “disgrace to the country” for her vigorous campaigning for a People's Vote and to Remain in the EU.

James Goddard in the 'yellow vest' worn for protests in Westminster

“You are a traitor, you are a traitor to this country. You are on the side of Adolf Hitler,” he said.

Writing on Twitter after the incident, Ms Soubry called Mr Goddard “a large and aggressive man” and said she has previously received death threats.

She noted that other MPs and journalists had been “been intimidated and abused by a small far-right group who roam around Parliament”.

Mr Goddard has been unapologetic, writing on Twitter that Ms Soubry "deserved everything she got".

Ms Soubry had been on her way to conduct a Sky interview on misogyny towards female politicians at the time.

MPs from all sides rallied round Ms Soubry to condemn the abuse, with Labour’s David Lammy saying the “nasty, aggressive behaviour” was reprehensible.

Fellow Labour MP Diana Johnson said: “This is truly awful and whatever your view on Brexit, there is absolutely no excuse for this type of intimidation and thuggery. Calling an MP a ‘traitor’ for holding a different view is unacceptable. This is dangerous and needs to be called out and stopped.”

Conservative MP Heidi Allen said: “I don’t care how you voted in the referendum, but this is intimidation and harassment is completely unacceptable. What have we become?”

Mr Goddard’s Facebook account has been suspended several times over his activity but he continues to plan further “yellow vest” protests on social media.

A Tommy Robinson supporter who has spoken at the English Defence League (EDL) founder’s rallies and attended numerous far-right marches, Mr Goddard attempts to crowdfund his activities on PayPal.

Also a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, he has previously called Islam a “political ideology that advocates your death” and claimed terror attacks are being “covered up” in Britain.

Another prominent member of the “yellow vests” is former soldier Tim Scott, who once led the UK branch of anti-Islam German group Pegida.

The group, co-founded by Robinson and failed Ukip leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters, failed to gain traction and Mr Scott resigned following an embarrassing TV interview in 2015.

It was labelled a “car-crash” after Mr Scott struggled elaborate on what he branded the “truth” about radical Islam in the UK.

Other “yellow vest” protesters include David Coppin of Margate, an EDL supporter who has attended numerous far-right rallies across the UK including a “White Lives Matter” march.

Also among them are two men allegedly involved in an attack on the Bookmarks socialist bookshop in London in August.

Mark Martin aka “Buska in the Park” and a young man called Max, who is known as “Red Cap Boy”, are both avid supporters of Mr Trump.

Tracy Blackwell, whose son was one of three teenagers killed by a drunk driver in Hayes earlier this year, has also been protesting with the “yellow vests”.

She has called the fatal crash a terror attack and accused police of covering up evidence, starting the "justice for our boys" campaign.

The group claim the government has “betrayed” the Leave vote and are calling for a no-deal Brexit.

Several members are also conspiracy theorists who claim "they" are blocking phone signal to stop coverage of "yellow vest" protests.

“The far right is desperately trying to weaponise Brexit and this effort is coalescing around figures like Stephen Lennon and Gerard Batten and those, such as cowardly thugs like James Goddard, who lap up their diet of hate and blame," a spokesperson for Hope Not Hate said.

“With the country and politicians divided, these characters are like sharks sniffing blood, picking on the most vulnerable targets, like women, as part of their disgusting worldview."

Metropolitan Police officers have intervened in several of their demonstrations and moved protesters out of roads, but have not yet made any arrests.

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