Sunday

18th Nov 2018

Brexit men launch anti-EU website

  • Farage (r) has cultivated close links with Trump (Photo: Reuters)

A British businessman who has poured millions into anti-EU campaigns is launching a right-wing news website on the model of Breitbart, a populist US site, which is also expanding in Europe.

Arron Banks's website, called Westmonster, went online on Thursday (19 January), one day before Donald Trump’s inauguration in the US.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Westmonster published stories on Brexit, burqas, and Polish immigrants (Photo: westmonster.com)

It published stories on Brexit, on burqas, and on Polish immigrants.

Its blurb said it was: “Pro-Brexit, pro-Farage, pro-Trump. Anti-establishment, anti-open borders, anti-corporatism.”

It said that Brexit and that Trump’s victory in the US were “one hell of a beating” for “the establishment” and a “victory for ordinary people”.

Banks bankrolled the unofficial Leave.eu campaign before last year's UK referendum, and has donated large sums to Ukip, the eurosceptic party formerly led by his long-time ally Nigel Farage.

With Brexit talks to start in March and with far-right parties the VVD, the National Front, and the AfD to contest Dutch, French, and German elections, Westmonster said this year “might just be even bigger” than 2016 in terms of “radical political change”.

Farage, in a column on Westmonster's front page, said Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders could cause a “shock” in The Netherlands and that British diplomats should meet with French far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

One Westmonster story was entitled “Brits want Burqa banned!”.

It cited a YouGov poll saying that 50 percent of British people wanted to ban the full Islamic veil. It said Germans also wanted it banned, adding: “Not surprising, given [German chancellor] Merkel’s disastrous open-door immigration policy.”

The stories used provocative language.

One attacked the “wall-to-wall bitching and whining from Remoaners”, referring to “Remainers”, or pro-EU voters. Another one attacked the “ultra pro-EU House of Lords”.

Westmonster urged people to “Be part of the movement!” by signing up to its email “Red Alert”.

It gave little information on its ownership or its writers.

Banks

According to the BBC, it is 50-percent owned by Banks, with Michael Heaver, Farage’s former press adviser, to edit the site.

Westmonster aimed to generate traffic by targeting the 800,000 people who follow Leave.eu on Facebook, the BBC said.

It aimed to aggregate news from other sites and to interview celebrities and right-wing MPs.

Its links to Trump will be on show in Washington this weekend, where Banks and Farage are to attend Trump’s inauguration and to host him at a party in the Hays-Adams Hotel, the BBC added.

Westmonster’s launch comes amid plans by Breitbart, a far-right and pro-Trump US website, to expand its operations in Europe.

Breitbart, which used to be run by Steve Bannon, who is now Trump’s chief strategist, is to launch websites in France and Germany ahead of the forthcoming elections.

It launched its first European site in the UK in 2014, which championed Brexit and Farage, and it is expected to cheer on the National Front and the AfD.

Breitbart

Its British website has grown by 135 percent year on year and has 15 million monthly page views and a large social media following, according to The Economist.

Earlier this month, its US site reported that Muslim men chanting “Allahu Akbar!” had clashed with police in the town of Dortmund and that German authorities had hushed it up.

Dortmund police debunked the story, but Breitbart did not take it down.

Westmonster and Breitbart’s European ventures coincide with a Russian anti-EU propaganda campaign.

British, German, and US spy chiefs have described Russian influence operations as a threat to French and German democracy.

They warned, in separate statements, that Russian state hackers, backed by state media such as as RT and Sputnik, and by internet trolls and bots would to try sway the results of the EU countries’ votes the same way that they “meddled” in the US elections.

No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt

British PM Theresa May battles for survival as she faces calls for her resignation and the rebellion of several ministers who resigned over the draft Brexit deal - which the EU is preparing to sign later this month.

Analysis

Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)

The main points of the Brexit withdrawal deal between London and Brussels dissected. Although the EU is preparing to sign the agreement, the UK government has been rocked by resignations since its publication less than 24 hours ago.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us