Former Tory party councilor expelled among crowd during Starmer incident | UK News

A former Tory adviser who was kicked out of the party and now leads an anti-vax group peddling a range of conspiracy theories was among a mob who harangued Keir Starmer before the Labor leader was taken away by police.

While experts have warned of a dangerous risk of radicalized hard-core extremism as the pandemic subsides, the incident has drawn attention to the rise of a plethora of protest groups.

A group present at Monday night’s fracas, Resistance GB, is led by former North London Tory councilor William Coleshill, which is relying on bogus justifications about old English common law to justify action direct.

Coleshill, initially suspended from the Conservative Party, was filmed last year chasing Michael Gove through Whitehall, and also clashed with Labor MP Jess Phillips and BBC journalist Nick Watt.

Members of social media channels run by Resistance GB, a self-proclaimed journalism platform, continue to spread debunked conspiracy theories about Starmer’s role in protecting pedophiles such as Jimmy Savile – alongside other claims about the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines.

After the incident involving the Labor leader – where a man and woman were arrested for assault after a traffic cone was thrown at a police officer – users of the same social media expressed their belief that the confrontation had been “staging”.

Other comments included descriptions of Starmer as a traitor and a “controlled Zionist”. Underneath a video of the incident, another said: ‘They’re all scum. He’s going to need more than a few henchmen for personal protection if things get worse.

Anti-vax protesters shouting fake insults at Savile target Keir Starmer – video
Anti-vax protesters shouting fake insults at Savile target Keir Starmer – video

Footage of the incident, bearing the Resistance GB logo, is widely shared on anti-vaccine social media and beyond. The most popular post on Telegram, a social media platform favored by many far-right activists, was shared by right-wing outlet Unity News Network. It had garnered 90,000 views less than 24 hours after Starmer was targeted outside parliament.

It has been shared by a number of high-profile anti-vax figures, including Kate Shemirani, a former nurse struck off the register last year, and Mike Yeadon, a former Pfizer employee who spread misinformation about Covid- 19.

Another post from Yeadon’s Telegram channel, which claimed the incident was “staged”, received 10,000 views. The post appears to be a reference to “false flag” or “crisis actor” stories, in which protesters are claimed to be paid actors trying to discredit a cause.

Prior to his expulsion from the Conservative Party, Coleshill was pictured in a selfie at a campaigning occasion with Boris Johnson.

Clare De Silva, a Tory councilor from the same Enfield ward that Coleshill once represented, claimed her former party colleague was kicked out “very soon” after her first or second council meeting. He then sat as an independent for a time before being kicked out for non-participation last summer.

“He clearly had views that were not representative of the Conservative Party and hadn’t been around very long. Conspiracy theories are something that have sadly affected a lot of people,” she said.

Much of Coleshill’s production is streamed on Resistance GB’s YouTube channel, which has over 72,000 subscribers. Interviews conducted in the wake of Gove’s prosecution by Coleshill include discussions with anti-lockdown street protesters, who accuse ministers of treason and leave ‘the people’ with only ‘one option’.

“If we were really as mad as these people think we would have hung him from the nearest tree… To say it’s going to happen today it’s not, but if we continue on this path of vaccinating children, then these people are going to start getting angry… that’s the only way it’s going to end,” one said.

Experts from organizations such as Hope Not Hate said there was overlap between many people involved in the same groups and support for the far right, far left and conspiracy theorist movements such as QAnon.

Hope Not Hate researcher Gregory Davis said the anti-vaccine, anti-lockdown movement had been fueled by fears of universal vaccination mandates and perpetual lockdowns, neither of which had materialized.

Davis added: “But as less motivated activists start to drift away, the concern is that existing groups will become more extreme, with only the most committed and radicalized members remaining active.

“Conspiracy theories have been around in the UK for a long time – whether it’s David Icke or others making dire predictions – but now there’s a new level of expectation and mobilization that we haven’t seen in the People are emotionally invested in this activism in a way and on a scale that did not exist before.

A Resistance GB spokesperson said: “Our outlet is at the forefront of debunking government and mainstream media misinformation and disinformation, such as that promoted by the Guardian.

“It is absurd and alien to the concept of personal responsibility that we should be blamed for any of the tens of thousands of comments hosted by tech platforms.”

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