Tory councillor in Worthing suspended over alleged support of far right

The Conservative party has suspended a councillor and is investigating allegations that he has been a secret supporter of a far-right organisation.

Tim Wills, a borough councillor in Worthing, West Sussex, is alleged to have been a supporter of Patriotic Alternative (PA), a racial nationalist group that seeks the removal of ethnic minorities from the UK.

In discussions on a PA channel of the social media app Telegram, he is alleged to have called for the promotion of conspiracy theories such as “white genocide” and urged the group to “infiltrate and influence those in power”.

Calls for Wills to be expelled from the Conservative party were led by the antiracist campaign group Hope Not Hate, which published the results of an investigation into him as Boris Johnson was addressing his party’s annual conference on Wednesday.

“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,” said Nick Lowles, the chief executive of Hope Not Hate.

“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.”

Wills did not respond to attempts by the Guardian to contact him about the allegations. A Conservative party spokesperson said: “Cllr Tim Wills has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.”

Hope Not Hate’s investigation uncovered messages, alleged to have come from Wills, that endorsed the “white genocide” conspiracy theory, which suggests genocide is being perpetrated on white people by means of mass immigration and cultural suppression.

“My view is Covid is a loss maker for us, we just need to centre on white genocide […] because many of our white race are convinced about vaccines, but not about our replacement,” Wills is alleged to have written on a social media under a different name.

In another, he is said to have urged fellow members to “remember the 14 words”, a reference to the 14-word white supremacist slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

Wills is listed on Adur and Worthing councils’ website as a policy adviser to a member of the local authority’s executive, as a member of five committees and as an appointee to the charity Action in Rural Sussex.

PA has been particularly active in rural areas, eschewing electoral politics and street protests in favour of focusing on conservation and other tactics.

The claims against Wills come as the Tory party faces allegations of continuing Islamophobia in its ranks. In May a long-awaited review into Islamophobia within the Conservatives was condemned as a whitewash by Muslim Tories despite it including criticism of the language used by Boris Johnson and the mayoral campaign run by Zac Goldsmith for insensitivity.

Councillor Daniel Humphreys, Leader of Worthing Borough Council, said Wills’ membership of the Conservative Party and the Worthing Borough Conservative group has been suspended pending an investigation by the Party’s complaints board.

“Worthing Conservatives remain committed to promoting equality between all people and opposing all forms of racism,” he added.

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