Far-right group targets Yorkshire village ahead of asylum seeker centre plans

Patriotic Alternative has repeatedly visited Linton-on-Ouse

A road sign for the former Linton-on-Ouse Royal Air Force base in North Yorkshire, where the UK government plans to house 1,500 asylum seekers.

The UK's largest far-right group has been targeting a village in northern England where the Home Office is planning to house 1,500 male asylum seekers.

Patriotic Alternative, which has been described as a British anti-Semitic party, has visited the village of Linton-on-Ouse, in North Yorkshire, twice in the past few days.

Residents there have launched legal action against the move to transform its former Royal Air Force base, which closed in 2020, into an asylum seeker processing centre.

Advocacy group Hope Not Hate, which campaigns against racism, said the far-right group is pushing to gain more credibility and has issued warnings about its true intentions.

In videos published on YouTube and posts on social media site Telegram, Patriotic Alternative members filmed themselves in the village and said they had visited every resident.

“Patriotic Alternative is a fascist, antisemitic white nationalist organisation launched in Britain in September 2019,” Hope Not Hate said.

“Its founder is Mark Collett, formerly director of publicity for the British National Party and one of the UK’s most notorious fascist figures.

“While Patriotic Alternative is the UK’s largest fascist organisation, it remains firmly confined to the political fringes, with a membership numbering in the low hundreds. The group is therefore desperate for media attention, performing stunts and propaganda drives in the hope of provoking outrage.”

Linton is the latest area to be targeted by far-right groups protesting against asylum seekers.

Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, southern England, which is currently being used as a holding site for people seeking asylum in the UK, has faced a number of racist incidents.

Last year, the Home Office revealed it had recorded more than 70 racist incidents by far-right supporters against asylum seekers in barracks and hotel accommodation across the UK.

A petition launched by the Linton community against the plans, which now has more than 2,500 signatures, cites concerns about far-right protests as one reasons residents do not want the centre.

“Such centres have been heavily criticised in the past, with court's ruling the site at Napier Barracks and Pennaly Barracks [in Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales] are not fit for purpose, resulting in arson, violence, poor mental health amongst refugees, suicide attempts and anti-social behaviour,” it says.

“Furthermore, the site saw protests by right-wing parties resulting in a number of arrests and additional policing. Such sites are not beneficial to either the asylum seekers or the general population.

“Despite this, a new site has been sanctioned to open in Linton-on-Ouse and on a much larger scale.

“The centre is not fenced off and as such presents a risk that right wing parties can access the site. Right-wing protests and arrests have been a theme across all centres of such kind to date.

“It's important to note that past sites were fenced off and closed door, this centre is not. Since the news broke, right wing representatives have been making appearances in the village.

“The Home Office was unaware that a right-wing group recently gained access to a nearby asylum hotel.”

A recent report by York City Council revealed that a far-right group had stormed an asylum hotel in the city and said security measures to protect the migrants were not adequate.

The local council is now seeking legal action to try to stop the asylum centre opening.

Updated: April 29, 2022, 10:54 PM
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