Far-right party leader defends appointment of man convicted of hate crime

The head of the far-right National Rebirth Party has defended the appointment of a branch leader who was convicted of a hate crime last year sending malicious communications to a drag performer.

Christopher Mitchell was sentenced to a 12-month community order in April last year after sending malicious communications to drag queen Auntie Titania Trust, who had delivered a drag queen story-telling event at North Walsham Library in Norfolk.

Mitchell also revealed the real name of the drag queen, Joseph Ballard, in social media posts, in which he baselessly accused him of “grooming children”. The threats left Ballard fearing for his life, Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court was told.

Mitchell, a welder from Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk, pleaded guilty to two charges of sending malicious communications. 

But, just over a year after his conviction, which required him to carry out 20 rehabilitation days, 150 hours of unpaid work and pay a fine of £1,500, Mitchell has been appointed National Rebirth’s branch leader for Great Yarmouth. 

National Rebirth Party branded ‘startlingly authoritarian group’

The National Rebirth Party, which has been approved by the Electoral Commission to field candidates in Scotland, England and Wales, has been described by research group Hope not Hate as a “startlingly authoritarian group,” according to The Ferret.

Advocacy group Hope not Hate referred to party leader Alek Yerbury as someone “motivated by an intense hatred for politicians” who believed that migration is “a symptom of a Marxist conspiracy”. 

The party’s website sets out 20 demands, including that “only people of British heritage” should be “entitled by birth to be British citizens”. 

Mitchell’s conviction deemed ‘irrelevant to the party’

In response to questioning about Mitchell’s appointment, Yerbury, a Yorkshire-based former soldier, told PinkNews that his party “does not consider” the conviction “an obstacle to his ability to manage a branch of the party” and is “irrelevant”.

National Rebirth’s constitution notes that the party aims to “promote and advance the interests of British people and defend their territorial and national integrity”. 

It has no clause with regard to previous convictions, but does say that the appointment of a party leader initially requires the support of party members before being voted on by all members. 

Last year, a report revealed that anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, especially anti-trans rhetoric, had become “increasingly vocal and aggressive” among the far right.

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