Far-right activists in Britain First have been urged to join the Conservatives to ensure Boris Johnson is ‘secure’ as leader.
The party’s eadr Paul Golding – who has received a welcome email from the Tories following his application – said he liked the “cut of the cloth” of the prime minister after he described Muslim women who wear the all-covering burqa as looking like “letterboxes”.
But the Tories insisted Golding’s application had “not been approved”, and a party source suggested his membership would be revoked.
Britain First, an anti-Islam party, said a number of senior members – including its leader, head of security and campaign manager – had applied to join the Tories in recent days.
Golding, a former British National Party councillor, told the PA news agency: “Primarily, we had the experience of Momentum joining the Labour Party en masse to consolidate the leadership position of Jeremy Corbyn.
“We have decided to do the same but in reverse. We are all joining to see if we can consolidate Boris’s leadership over the Tory party.
“He is getting Brexit done but, as well as that, he has made a lot of comments in the past referring to burqa and niqab-wearing women as ‘letterboxes’.
“After the London Bridge attack, he said he wanted to crack down on the early release of terrorist prisoners. We like the cut of the cloth on Boris Johnson.
“He is more of a populist leader and I think in recent weeks he has nailed his colours to the mast against immigration and being for Brexit.”
An email sent to supporters urged them to join to help ‘secure’ Boris Johnson as leader, days after Tommy Robinson claimed he had joined.”If you haven’t joined the Conservative Party yet, we urge you to do so immediately, to make Boris Johnson’s leadership more secure.
“Senior Britain First officials and rank-and-file members have been receiving their Conservative membership cards in the post.
“Just as Momentum activists joined the Labour Party to solidify Jeremy Corbyn’s grip on that party, Britain First activists and members seem to be doing the same for the Tories and Boris.”
A Tory spokeswoman however insisted the applications would not be approved despite sending welcome emails.
They said: “Paul Golding’s application for membership of the Conservative Party has not been approved.
“While we welcome new members from a wide variety of backgrounds, we are vigilant against those seeking to join the party who do not share our aims.
“There is a process in place for local Conservative associations to approve members who apply to join, or to reject those who do not share the party’s values or objects.
“We support local associations with this work to ensure they can and do take action where needed.”
Golding, who has stood in the European parliament and London mayoral elections for Britain First, served time in jail as recently as last year.
He was found guilty at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court of religiously aggravated harassment, carried out alongside deputy leader Jayda Fransen in Kent in May 2017.
The far-right activist was handed an 18-week term for his part in a political campaign in which he and Fransen claimed to be trying to expose Islamic men who were the subject of a rape trial, but instead ended up branding innocent Muslims as paedophiles and rapists.