Over the weekend, fascist party Patriotic Alternative held a conference at the Stirk House Hotel[efn_note]CADDY, Paul – Director KAY, Helen Elizabeth – Director KAY, Christopher Michael Blunn – Secretary Correspondence address: Stirk House, Hotel & Restaurant, Gisburn, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 4LJ https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/company/06687742/officers[/efn_note] in Lancashire BB7 4LJ. The hotel was warned about the booking by anti-fascist investigators Red Flare before 10am on Friday morning. They were repeatedly contacted throughout the day, and warned the event would consist of neo-Nazis, racists, anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers.
PA’s leadership were at the hotel from Friday evening and even more PA members started arriving on Saturday morning. PA claim 150 members were at the conference held in the ballroom of Stirk House Hotel, which is usually used for weddings. In their statement they said: ‘We would like to thank the venue for hosting us and for being so attentive during the course of the day.’
PA’s supporters from across the UK and Europe travelled to the conference which was addressed by speakers including Andreas Johannson of the Nordic Resistance Movement, a neo-Nazi group which is banned in Finland and has been linked to multiple murders.
PA has multiple connections to banned neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action, and several PA members are currently charged with crimes including terrorism and hate speech offences. These links were flagged to the hotel by Red Flare.
Speeches at the event were recorded by James Allchurch, a longtime associate of PA’s leader and former BNP youth leader, Mark Collett. Allchurch is currently on trial for stirring up racial hatred after recording a podcast which talked about hanging black and Jewish people.
In a livestream on Sunday evening, Collett thanked the Stirk House Hotel staff for their hospitality and described the three course meal the venue served its fascist guests as “like something you would have in an actual restaurant.” Collett said: “My starter was amazing. I had like a duck egg starter and it was just it was really amazing.”
Allan Jones, spokesperson for Red Flare, said:
“By hosting this conference Stirk House has provided a safe space for neo-Nazis to organise and a platform for them to voice their abhorrent views unchallenged. Does the hotel management have sympathies with their politics? Until Stirk House Hotel clarifies if they support this fascist party we would suggest decent people steer clear of this venue.
“Patriotic Alternative is a rapidly growing fascist party, the likes of which we have not seen since the heyday of the British National Party. PA make no qualms about openly promoting anti-Semitism, racism and homophobia and have members previous associated with the now proscribed neo-Nazi group National Action.
“PA are preparing their members for physical violence. These are neo-Nazis who believe they’re preparing for a coming ‘race war’, which they see as an opportunity to realise their fantasies of genocidal violence. Fascists glorify violence for its own sake. Once PA’s members become organised and confident enough, we could see a return to the thuggish street violence of the National Front or British National Party.
“PA supporters openly fantasise about causing harm to or murdering their political opponents and ethnic minorities. We expect some of the individuals PA are radicalising and now training will form the next generation of neo-Nazi terrorists.
“Multiple PA members have shared terrorist manifestos, expressing support for neo-Nazi terrorists, which many of them claim they would act on given the opportunity. These are people who want to use genocidal violence against Jews and other minorities, and are actively working to bring about the conditions that would make this possible.
“Although PA are careful to promote what they think is a softer, more family-friendly image, their members still harbour the same genocidal ambitions. PA are vile Hitler obsessives who are grooming the next generation of neo-Nazi terrorists using the services of big tech companies like YouTube. PA have also attracted numerous former members of the banned neo-Nazi group National Action.”
Helen Kay, Managing Director of Stirk House, said:
In or around March 2022, Stirk House Hotel accepted a booking to host a private event. The booking was made in the name of an individual and no reference to the event being held in connection with the Patriotic Alternative or any other group was made. At the time of the booking, the Hotel was informed that the event was a book event and no specific details of the event’s agenda, its attendees or details of any proposed speakers were provided during the booking process.
At around 10am on Friday 28 October, the Hotel was contacted by an individual who did not identify himself, though he is now understood to be an associate or member of Red Flare, seeking information about an event which he believed was being held in the Burnley area and which he believed would have been identified to the relevant Hotel as a book or other innocuous event. This and other anonymous callers to the Hotel provided non-specific details that such event would be the subject of protest and the Hotel received numerous threatening and abusive calls throughout the day.
The Hotel’s management immediately contacted the Lancashire Police following the first call, to make them aware of the circumstances and worked with the Police throughout 28 October and over that weekend. The Hotel co-operated fully with the Lancashire Police who were able to confirm that the Patriotic Alternative were not a banned group, were not involved in any known criminal or unlawful activity, that it was lawful for them to convene and that there were no grounds for them to interfere. Having regard to the calls which had been received, the Hotel’s management in conjunction with the Police took immediate steps to further ensure the safety of all guests and visitors to the Hotel.
Notwithstanding that the Police had confirmed that the event was lawful, the Hotel nevertheless invited the Patriotic Alternative to cancel the event, but they declined. Having regard to all the circumstances, the proximity of the event and having explored all legal options, the Hotel was left with little practical alternative but to proceed with the
booking, which had been accepted by the Hotel many months prior, in good faith, and before the Hotel’s management had any knowledge of these serious allegations.
Being a private function, none of the hotel staff or management were invited nor did they attend the event. The Hotel is not therefore able to comment upon the details of the event, the attendees at the event (or their individual views), the identity of the speakers or the nature and subject matter of the topics considered.
The Hotel and its management wish to make absolutely clear that they have no affiliation with the Patriotic Alternative, its membership or the other individuals and groups identified as being associated. The Hotel and its management do not support or sympathise with the aims and politics of the Patriotic Alternative.
Furthermore, neither the Hotel nor its management support or have sympathy with any view of a fascist, Neo-Nazi, racist or anti-Semitic character or any other view of the kind alleged to be held by the Patriotic Alternative or any of its members and it does not condone any activity of the kind which is alleged to result from that ideology.