Conservative councillor suspended after being linked to far-right organisation

A Conservative councillor has been suspended from the party after being linked with a far-right, white nationalist organisation by an anti-racist campaign group.

Worthing councillor Tim Wills was alleged to be a supporter of Patriotic Alternative (PA) – a group that claims to want to preserve the “indigenous population” of the UK.

The organisation was founded by Mark Collett, a former publicity director for the British National Party (BNP), in 2019. The far-right group has also been accused of presenting migrants as a “threat to the survival of white society”.

Cllr Wills, who represents Marine Ward, Worthing, joined a regional PA chat group on the messaging platform Telegram in June 2021, according to Hope Not Hate, which published material allegedly posted by the councillor.

Cllr Wills allegedly discussed “white genocide” during the chat – a conspiracy theory that suggests white people are being “replaced” by non-whites in western nations.

“My view is Covid is a loss-maker for us,” he reportedly posted. “We just need to concentrate on white genocide … because many of our white race are convinced about vaccines, but not about our replacement, and need to be informed about this?”

In a second message, he allegedly told other members of the group chat to “remember the 14 words” – referring to a white supremacist slogan, which states: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

Mr Wills was also claimed to have criticised the Conservative Party in the group chat, saying the party was “the worst for talking the talk and never delivering”.

“Trying to infiltrate and influence those in power is our initial best way forward as we have no chance of political power any time soon, sadly,” he allegedly said. “My view is Tories are best of a rotten lot as still have a right-wing minority who are on side.”

A spokesperson for the Conservative Party told The Independent: “Cllr Tim Wills has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.”

Nick Lowles, CEO at Hope Not Hate, said: “It is frankly abhorrent that a councillor representing the Conservative Party in Worthing not only actively supports Patriotic Alternative – an antisemitic, white nationalist organisation – but has openly endorsed racist conspiracy theories.

“The fact that Tim Wills believes that there is a ‘right-wing minority’ within the party who support his views could act as a wake-up call to those who still deny the scale of the issue facing the Conservatives when it comes to racism and Islamophobia within its ranks.

“It is clear that Tim Wills should be immediately expelled from the Conservative Party and lose the whip as a councillor, but it is also time for the Conservative Party, as the party of government, to take serious steps to tackle the threat of far-right extremism within its ranks.”

According to Sussex Live, Cllr Tim Wills said “No comment for me to make” when approached outside his home. The Independent has also contacted the councillor for comment.