Belfast Telegraph

Britain First Trump retweets 'the truth,' Belfast councillor tells party conference

By Jonathan Bell

Belfast city councillor Jolene Bunting has lavished praise on the far right movement Britain First describing tweets from one of the group's leaders, which were retweeted by the American president, as the "truth".

The independent unionist councillor addressed the party's conference at the weekend.

It came in a week which saw the group gain global prominence after US president Donald Trump retweeted videos posted by party deputy leader Jayda Fransen to his 45million followers.

"Jayda this week has been outstanding," councillor Bunting told the conference, "but you were telling the truth.

"Donald Trump loves the truth, he tells the truth.

"When he saw Jayda tell the truth he obviously thought I like this girl, and who wouldn't?"

There was outrage when Donald Trump retweeted the anti-muslim posts leading to a diplomatic spat between the President and Prime Minister Theresa May.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said Britain First sought to divide communities through its use of "hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions".

"I am very clear that retweeting Britain First was the wrong thing to do," Theresa May said.

Following the social media exploits of the president, the group said membership applications had soared and Ms Fransen issued a video statement in which she declared herself "delighted" with the President's actions.

One of the videos has been discredited as not purporting to show what it claims by Dutch officials.

The White House said Mr Trump was simply promoting border security and suggested that verifying the content was not a top concern.

"Whether it's a real video, the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about," said a spokeswoman for the president.

During her appearance at the conference, Jolene Bunting also talked about living in Northern Ireland and there being no "real peace".

"I'm living in the thick of it... it's a lot quieter, it's not constant like it used to be," the 25-year-old said.

She also praised Britain First leaders for the work they are doing leading the movement and talked about her meeting with members of the Belfast Islamic Centre.

Alliance councillor Kate Nicholl said: "Britain First is a hate-filled, racist organisation which strives to cause division and stoke tension and fear.

"I have been working with members of the Belfast Islamic Centre who are dignified and peaceful people (Jolene herself said they were nice people) who are already unfairly subjected to islamaphobic abuse. I believe as Belfast City Councillors we have a duty to promote tolerance and respect, and I think it is a complete disgrace that a Belfast City Councillor attended their conference."

Britain First has campaigned against what it calls the "Islamisation" of the UK since it was founded by British National Party members.

Jayda Fransen, meanwhile, has been charged with using threatening and abusive language at a rally in Belfast. She is set to appear in court on December 14

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