Britain First tricked into protesting outside hotels without asylum seekers

27 April 2021, 22:30 | Updated: 27 April 2021, 22:49

Britain First's leader Paul Golding was duped into protesting outside hotels not housing asylum seekers
Britain First's leader Paul Golding was duped into protesting outside hotels not housing asylum seekers. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Far-right group Britain First has been tricked into protesting outside hotels that do not house asylum seekers after being given a fake list by the public.

Last year, supporters of the group entered hotels used by the Home Office to house asylum seekers and banged on bedroom doors where they were staying.

Followers have since started repeating these stunts, with Britain First turning to members of the public to ask for the names of such premises where they know asylum seekers are being accommodated.

However, hundreds of people took the group's appeal as an opportunity to dupe them by providing the leaders with decoy hotels that were not being used to house refugees, according to a report in the Guardian.

The far-right group's leader, Paul Golding, and chair, Ashlea Simon, then released a video on social media in which they acknowledged they had been sent a list of hotels without asylum seekers in.

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In the footage, shared via Twitter last week, Golding said they had tried visiting hotels that "we suspect very, very strongly were housing illegal immigrants".

However, he noted there had been a "big change today", before turning to Simon, who was holding the fake list in question.

"As you can see here, I've got a long list of migrant hotels," she told the camera.

"I've had reports from the public and seen several news articles that these hotels on this list are definitely housing illegal immigrants.

"Well, when we visited these hotels we were met with empty rooms, no illegal immigrants."

Golding later conceded: "Yes, loads of bogus submissions were inputted by left-wing, pro-migrant activists, but these were filtered out very easily. The hotels we visited were 100 per cent being used – up until recently – to house illegal immigrants."

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One pro-migrant Twitter user, who appeared to tweet the video last week in a bid to highlight the trick, told the Guardian they contacted like-minded people to bombard the group with as many decoy hotels in the North West.

"It worked a treat. They were most definitely taken in by this,” said Marsh4LL, who only wanted to be identified by their Twitter handle.

The individual also wrote on social media: "Last week Paul & Ashlea made a plea to the public for information on hotels suspected of housing asylum seekers.

"Oh, the public, they replied alright LOL...

"So big thanks to everyone who emailed Britain First and led Golding on today's wild goose chase."

Others on Twitter congratulated Marsh4LL for the stunt and for posting it online.

Pressure group Stand Up to Racism said: "Well done all today who have made fools out of Britain First, in the fascists' attempt to intimidate refugees!"

Another user wrote: "Absolutely brilliant! Thank you for sharing this."

It comes amid a rise in far-right activity at hotels believed to be accommodating asylum seekers.

On 17 April, police were called to a hotel in Nottingham after Britain First supporters entered the building before going round demanding answers about whether the occupants were refugees and where they had come from.

Clare Moseley, the founder of Care4Calais, said: “Britain First’s attempt to resurrect last year’s campaign of visiting asylum seekers’ hotels is sickening. It’s an act of sheer cowardice.

"They challenge people who can’t answer back and who are at a disadvantage due to lack of legal status.”

The charity, which supports asylum seekers in 50 different hotels, said in a report that the far-right group visited at least eight different hotels housing refugees between 4 and 17 April.