Far right Highland Division whose members posed with weapons targets Elgin 3

Far right Highland Division whose members posed with weapons targets Elgin

A far right group whose members include Holocaust deniers plans to hold a rally in Elgin.

The rally is to be held on 17 June by Highland Division, an extremist group which includes defectors from Patriotic Alternative Scotland.

A Leeds-based former soldier who styles himself on Adolf Hitler, is billed as the keynote speaker.

A digital leaflet for the Elgin demo says the event is partly to oppose the housing of asylum seekers in hotels – a tactic used by other far right groups, including Patriotic Alternative Scotland and Homeland, who have held demos in Erskine, Renfrewshire in recent months. 

Moray’s MP and MSPs have condemned plans for the rally by a “dangerous hate group” and said locals would be “horrified” by their “vile, violent and threatening rhetoric”.

Last year The Ferret gained access to a private chat group where a man, who claimed to be from Elgin and is now a central figure in Highland Division, shared a picture of a weapons collection. It included 13 knives – one of which featured the Nazi swastika – two axes and a knuckleduster.

Hitler protege

The Elgin rally’s planned keynote speaker is Alex Yerbury, who broke away from Patriotic Alternative, and went on to form a military-style splinter group, the National Support Detachment.

He, like his former allies in Patriotic Alternative and Homeland, has been targeting migrant hotels in England, and now Scotland. He was pictured shaking hands with Highland Division’s figurehead in March in a Telegram post which said “Forging new loyalties. Unite the right!”.

Highland Division
Key figures from Highland Division (left) and Alek Yerbury meet  in March 2022.

According to social media posts seen by HOPE not hate, the Leeds-based former soldier called for the use of firearms on migrants in Belarus, and the internment of his political enemies in forced labour camps.

In a social media post, he referred to the MP Jo Cox, who was murdered by a far right terrorist from Kilmarnock, Thomas Mair, in 2016. “Remember a few years ago when that MP got her head blown off in public?,” he said. “Clearly the other MPs have learnt nothing from that, and are still just as ignorant and selfish as ever.”

Highland Division’s ‘vile, violent and threatening rhetoric’

Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “The people of Moray will be appalled at the thought of this hate-filled organisation holding a rally in the area. The vile, violent and threatening rhetoric attributed to those associated is completely intolerable.”

Richard Lochhead, Moray’s MSP, said: “People locally will be horrified to hear that this far right group plans to meet in Elgin and as Moray’s MSP I couldn’t be clearer that hateful demonstrations like this one are not welcome in our community.”

He added: “We can never be complacent about the presence of extremist and far-right groups in this country, but I know the people in Moray to be accepting and welcoming and I’m confident there will be little support for this dangerous hate group within our local community.”

The Highlands and Islands Green MSP, Ariane Burgess, said: “Scotland is no place for xenophobia or racism, far less the Highlands, where we are proud to welcome refugees into our communities and I would expect locals to reject such egregious displays of hatred.”

A Patriotic Alternative Scotland spokesperson said: “We can only comment on people who are in Patriotic Alternative. You’ve just sent us a load of nonsense about people who are members of other groups.”

The Ferret contacted Homeland, the National Support Detachment and Alek Yerbury for comment, but did not receive a response. Highland Division and its individual members could not be reached.

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