BRITAIN'S “largest and most significant fascist group” has undergone a “catastrophic split” - with a new splinter group described as the "most dangerous group on the British far right". 

Red Flare, a group of volunteers who investigate the far right, said members of the fascist group Patriotic Alternative (PA) had formed a new group called Homeland which they described as “a distillation” of the former’s “most dangerous elements into something harder, more serious and better organised”.

PA activists’ most recent activities in Scotland have included protesting outside a Renfrewshire hotel hosting asylum seekers, where they were met with resistance from anti-racism campaigners.

A new report from investigators at Red Flare said members of PA, including its Scotland organiser Kenny Smith, had left the ethno-nationalist group and hit out at its lack of political “direction” and “focus”.

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A leaked audio recording of the inaugural meeting the Homeland splinter group obtained by Red Flare and shared with the media featured Smith, who is based in Skye and originally from the Isle of Lewis, criticised what he saw as PA’s lack of political “direction” and “focus”.

The National:

He also said communication within the organisation was “terrible” on the meeting said to have been held on April 20, the same day as Adolf Hitler’s birthday which is celebrated by neo-Nazis.

Simon Crane, a Scotland organiser with Homeland said the meeting had been held the previous evening and that the party had not been "formally launched" as yet. 

He said the party "strenously" denied Red Flare's claims their ranks includded neo-Nazis and "Hitler worshippers". 

During an emergency meeting of PA – said to have been held on the same day – the group’s deputy leader Laura Melia denied there was a “split” and downplayed the extent to which members had left her organisation.

Another key figure in the rift is Mark Collett, who remains PA’s leader. He is in favour of relaxing the organisation’s strict vetting measures – said to include prospective members showing two forms of identification and receiving a home visit from a group official before they are allowed to join.

Smith, who is thought to be an important behind-the-scenes figure within the newly-formed Homeland group, was a staunch advocate of PA’s tough vetting measures to protect its “high-trust community”.

Red Flare’s analysis of their reporting suggested the breakaway group could pose a more serious threat than its predecessor.

The group warned Homeland could be well-placed to “seize power in the UK” because of its organisational experience in planning demonstrations and “community organising” ability while Melia and Collett were more focused on online far-right activism.

READ MORE: Anti-fascists outnumber Patriotic Alternative at asylum hotel protest

The report said: “Homeland represents a distillation of PA’s most dangerous elements into something harder, more serious and better organised. Those who have defected from PA include competent neo-Nazi organisers with experience of running PA on the ground in their regions while Collett and Melia were live-streaming from their homes.

The National:

“They have left PA because Collett and Melia were disinterested in the changes they wanted to make to the organisation to make it a more effective vehicle for neo-Nazis to seize power in the UK. By forming Homeland, they have created a vehicle where they can attempt to enact these changes.

“It is important to emphasise that both Homeland and PA are neo-Nazis and fascists: Holocaust denial and Hitler worship is rife among members of both organisations. This split is not ideological in nature - rather, it is the result of differences in strategy and approaches to organising.”

Homeland’s goal was now “seizing power at a local level”, the report said, adding that activism within the confines of PA had “hit a ceiling”.

It went on: “Homeland will present new challenges for anti-fascists who have struggled to adapt to PA’s ‘community building’ model.

“Prior to the emergence of PA, British fascists were restricted to poorly-attended secret meetings in pubs and hotels and working men’s clubs.

“Street protests were rare and opposed by significant numbers of anti-fascists when they did occur. PA have changed this; there are now fascist events happening across Britain every weekend, in addition to regular fascist-led protests since PA’s turn back to the streets.

“Homeland is entering a very different political landscape to the one in which PA was created. The cost of living crisis and government rhetoric about refugees and the transphobic bile of the culture wars have created a toxic environment where a party like Homeland could thrive.

“Preventing them from benefiting from these conditions needs to become the top priority for anti-fascists. Homeland is now the most dangerous group on the British far right.”