MPs are calling for increased protection from pro-Brexit “yellow vest” protestors who have been heckling politicians and journalists outside Parliament.
The group’s ringleader has been named as James Goddard, who repeatedly shouted that Remainer Tory MP Anna Soubry was a “Nazi” as she gave a lived BBC interview earlier this week.
It has since emerged that the 29-year-old, from Leicester, has a history of extremist activism. Here are five things you need to know about Goddard:
Fighting for a Muslim-free Britain
Goddard’s vocal opposition to Islam is the dominant theme of his activism, and he has called for the total eradication of the religion from the UK on multiple occasions.
In one social media post, he told followers that the East London Mosque “needs closing down, along with every other Mosque, that currently besmirches our great country”, HuffPost reports.
In a video filmed last September, Goddard was heard telling a North London imam that he wanted to “ban Islam in the West” and would pay British Muslims to leave the country.
Goddard added that if Muslims did not agree to leave voluntarily “then we’d have to think of a legal way that we could do it”, reports The Guardian.
Far-right views go beyond Islam
Goddard claims to have no political affiliations, but The Independent says his posts on Gab, a “free speech” social network that has become a hub for extremists, prove that he “has been voicing far-right views online since at least August 2017”.
The news site adds that although “the majority of his hate-filled posts attacked Islam”, he also expressed racism and transphobia, suggesting that mixed-race trans model Munroe Bergdorf should “jog off back to the jungle”.
Quit job to become full-time agitator
Goddard claims he “quit his job running a small business in May and gave up work in November ‘to focus on highlighting the hypocrisies of our so-called representatives’”, The Times reports.
He had previously held several jobs, including working at a nightclub and as a handyman. A former colleague told The Independent that Goddard “pushed the limits of what he could say”, using slurs including “P**i” and “nonce”.
Used to live in the EU
Although Goddard now spends his days calling for Britain’s total severance from the EU, he previously took advantage of the bloc’s freedom of movement rules in order to live and work in Spain.
During an unsuccessful attempt to enter the Labour Party’s headquarters in London that was live-streamed online, Goddard spoke to an employee in Spanish and said he once lived in the country, according to The Independent.
Banned from Facebook and Paypal
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed this week that Goddard’s account and groups have been deleted from the platform “for violating our policies on hate speech”.
“We will not tolerate hate speech on Facebook which creates an environment of intimidation and which may provoke real-world violence,” the spokesperson added.
Goddard’s accounts on online payment platforms Paypal and Patreon, which he had been using to solicit donations from supporters, have also been removed.
The far-right activist said that the bans were “deeply regrettable” but “unsurprising, claiming that “the big social media firms have repeatedly shown themselves unwilling to allow free and fair debate on their platforms”.