On 25 July, Boris Johnson met with his new cabinet and made his first speech in parliament. Since coming to power, Johnson’s installed hard-Brexiteers into key positions. But his non-ministerial appointments are equally worrying.
Now he’s given an important role to a hard-right lobbyist who openly supported the deputy leader of a racist group run by Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson).
Righter than right
Westley is campaign manager for the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA), a right-wing “think tank and lobbying group”. She was also head of social media for Vote Leave. But Westley’s dubious connections don’t stop there.
As news emerged of her appointment, people shared a now deleted tweet that showed Westley openly supporting Anne Marie Waters. In 2015, Yaxley-Lennon made Waters the deputy leader of his new group Pegida UK. This is a “far-right nationalist group that… campaigns against the supposed ‘Islamification of Europe'”. Pegida’s views are so extreme that in 2016 UKIP refused to let Waters stand as a candidate.
In June 2016, the Rotherham Advisor reported that:
Pegida UK’s deputy leader Anne Marie Waters said it plans to make a “silent protest” in the town centre against “Islamic misogyny and anti-white hatred”.
Just weeks later Westley called Waters “a hero”:
In 2016 Boris Johnson's new digital adviser Chloe Westley enthusiastically backed renowned racist Ann Marie Waters who had just set up Pergida UK with one Tommy Robinson.
I see Westley has been deleting old tweets including this. pic.twitter.com/KcSR76vr1H
— Otto English (@Otto_English) July 25, 2019
I thought it couldn't get any worse. pic.twitter.com/0i2OiXzQGn
— Crypto-Spooky Head 🇬🇧 #NotMyPM #GTTO (@Spoonhead8) July 25, 2019
So Boris, who has links to alt-right Steve Bannon is now set to hire Chloe Westley, who has links to Anne Marie Waters who set up far-right group Pegida and who was suspended from Twitter for hate speech
We basically have a Harrods Tommy Robinson running the fucking country!
— MiMi xxx (@Mi_xxxMi) July 25, 2019
This isn’t the only concern about Westley.
In 2018, the Electoral Commission fined Vote Leave £61,000 and reported it to the police for criminal investigation. As whistleblower Shahmir Sanni explained on Twitter, Westley’s activities during the EU referendum campaign are now under police investigation:
Chloe Westley set up the BeLeave MailChimp account and then pretended (along with Johnson, Elliot, Patel and all of Vote Leave) that BeLeave was never a part of Vote Leave. Her emails are PRIME evidence in the Metropolitan Police investigation. I feel fucking sick. https://t.co/QfBV8ZyI9S pic.twitter.com/zIhLePJCqF
— Shahmir Sanni 🏳️🌈 (@shahmiruk) July 25, 2019
The same group [TPA] that speaks out against government waste on Newsnight and in the pages of newspapers also runs a campaign against radicalising schoolbooks published by the Palestinian Authority and has formed an alliance with a Slovakian rightwing group…
Sir Anthony Bamford, the JCB tycoon, whose family and company have donated more than £1m to the Conservatives, said he has helped fund the TPA
In 2019 alone, Bamford and JCB made “nine separate donations” to Johnson. Elliott is editor-at-large of BrexitCentral and was chief executive of Vote Leave. Westley is also a contributor of BrexitCentral.
Many people are hugely concerned about Johnson’s latest appointments:
2/ it will deregulate, privatise, revoke rights, possibly break the union and risk destroying our environment at a faster rate. It will also lead to a meaner, ruggedly individualistic Britain where more of the vulnerable, and even some who are not, slip the through cracks.
— J.S. (@Jolbs1987) July 25, 2019
The TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) want fewer hospitals, & nurses to work longer hours. Chloe Westley (TPA) is Boris' new digital advisor. Matthew Elliott (TPA) is Sajid's new Treasury advisor. I wonder when will Boris announce the IEA & Steve Bannon are his Brexit advisors?
— Jacqueline Mojito (@Jacjc4pm19) July 25, 2019
Rumour is that Chloe Westley is getting a job too. Lobbyists shouldn't be allowed anywhere near government unless and until they reveal their funders in full, and receive proper vetting. This is an ongoing right-wing coup.
— Nick Stevenson Deeply Unhelpful (@NickStevenson63) July 25, 2019
In just four days since coming to power, Johnson’s filled the cabinet and government with far-right figures at a terrifying speed. He’s made Theresa May – the architect of the ‘hostile environment‘ and enforcer of austerity – look liberal. Racists Donald Trump and Steve Bannon must be rubbing their hands with glee.
Never have protest and resistance been so urgently needed in the UK.
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.