Exposed: Tory County Councillor was key member of fascist group

Gregory Davis - 15 11 22

Update: Since this blog was published Cllr Andy Weatherhead has resigned from Kent County Council and Dymchurch Parish Council. In a statement, Folkestone & Hythe Conservative Association thanked HOPE not hate for our investigation.

A HOPE not hate investigation reveals that Cllr Andy Weatherhead, who represents Hythe West on Kent County Council, was a senior officer for the openly fascist New British Union (NBU).

We can reveal that Cllr Weatherhead:

In 2019, Weatherhead changed his name from Andrew Beadle, under which he had taken a senior role in the NBU, an attempted revival of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. Weatherhead went on to run for UKIP four times before eventually landing in the Conservative Party. 

Archived pages from the NBU’s website show that Andrew Beadle was appointed as the group’s Business Officer in April 2013, a position he held until at least February 2014. He was given an additional role as Policy Officer in May 2013, but did so under the pseudonym “Andy Blackhouse”, presumably a reference to the original British Union of Fascist’s headquarters at the Black House in King’s Road, Chelsea. 

“I am pleased to say that the public perception of British Fascism is starting to turn away from the State inspired demonised political entity that we are so readily portrayed as.”

Andy Weatherhead, 11 November 2013

As Policy Officer, Weatherhead delivered a speech at the NBU’s inaugural conference in October 2013, laying out the group’s newly established policy document and constitution to the small number of party officers in attendance in a room decked out in fascist paraphernalia.

Weatherhead (circled) appears at the inaugural NBU conference in October 2013

The New British Union is a group of fascist revivalists, widely derided even within the far right for its obsession with wearing pre-war fascist uniforms and desire to emulate the British Union of Fascists. The NBU was founded in January 2013 by Gary Raikes, the former Scottish organiser for the British National Party (BNP). Raikes insists on being referred to by Oswald Mosley’s title of “The Leader” at all times, and has fantasised about the vengeance his NBU would inflict after the revolution:

“Let the rats of this system not think that any land will safely shelter them, or any sewers of the world provide them with refuge […] The cleansing flame shall pursue you to the uttermost ends of the earth. You shall go swiftly to the retribution to which slowly and cruelly you have driven thousands of better, if not poorer, men.”

Gary Raikes, 16 November 2013

Despite the group’s public denial that its Mosleyite version of fascism is racist or antisemitic, the group has been riddled with Nazis and violent bigots since the beginning. In November 2013, while Weatherhead was a senior member, the group’s district officer for Gloucestershire was jailed for an arson attack against a mosque earlier that year.

Weatherhead published blogs on the NBU website under the “Andy Blackhouse” pseudonym, including deeply antisemitic statements, for example railing against the government for “appeasing the British and International Jewish lobby, whilst allowing the British people to be feed [sic] lie after lie through the Jewish controlled Press and Media.”

“This Jewish lobby also has major capitalist business interests, with perhaps the biggest being media in the form of News Papers, TV and the general press. And we wonder why nationalist political views are never fairly reported on! As with most things, behind every barking dog lay its master.”

Andy Weatherhead, 5 November 2013

He also attended a rally organised by the NBU outside the Greek Embassy in November 2013 in support of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn movement, which was later banned by the Greek government for violent attacks on immigrants, ethnic minorities and political opponents. Weatherhead and other members were photographed wearing the group’s “blackshirt” uniform, which replicates those worn by Mosley’s British Union of Fascists in the 1930s.

At the same demonstration, Weatherhead was photographed standing alongside Mark Jones, Kevin Layzell and Terrence Miles, three young BNP activists who would go on to form part of the now-banned Nazi terror group National Action. In a blog posted after the event, Weatherhead celebrated that it had “marked the first time for many years that Blackshirts have stood openly on the Streets of London, with our flag; the Flash & Circle.”

From L-R: Mark Jones, Kevin Layzell, Terrence Miles and Andy Weatherhead

Weatherhead left the NBU in April 2014, going on to join UKIP later that year. After four unsuccessful UKIP candidacies, including briefly putting himself forward to take over as UKIP leader in 2016, Weatherhead successfully ran as a Conservative for the Hythe West division on Kent County Council in May 2021.

While it is unclear whether Weatherhead retains his fascist ideology, a review of his social media suggests that he still holds deeply unsavoury views. A recent tweet liked by Weatherhead referred to the supposed “filth, disease and crime” brought to the UK by Albanian people, while countless others endorsed the Home Secretary’s inflammatory use of “invasion” to describe channel crossings.

Tweet ‘liked’ by Cllr Weatherhead, 2 November 2022

In a recent interview with TalkTV on channel crossings, Weatherhead suggested that he wanted the government to “look again” at the UK’s adherence to the 1951 refugee convention, but denied that racism played a role in his thinking, saying “There’s a lot of smart language being put out there by people pushing their own political narrative […] like “To object you must be racist, or xenophobic, or anti-this or anti-that”. Why must you be? […] “To object to that means you’re a racist” – well no, it doesn’t!”

Cllr Weatherhead appears on TalkTV, 3 November 2022

The Conservative Party now has serious questions to answer about the vetting of Cllr Weatherhead, not least because HOPE not hate recently revealed that another Tory councillor, Tim Wills of Worthing Borough Council, had secretly joined private chat groups of the fascist group Patriotic Alternative while still in office.

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