James Goddard, one of the leading members of the so-called ‘Yellow Vests’ protesters, has been arrested in connection with a Conservative MP being abused six days ago.
The 29-year-old man from Anstey, Leicester, was detained by police outside St James’ Park underground station in London on Saturday as demonstrators arrived for a rally.
His supporters, marching in London to demand Britain leaves the European Union, claimed he was due to hand himself in at a police station in the capital. It is understood he has been arrested in connection with abuse the Conservative MP Anna Soubry received on Monday outside the House of Commons.
A statement by the Metropolitan Police said: “A man in his 30’s has been arrested in central London on suspicion of public order offences committed on 7 January. He remains in custody.”
Mr Goddard had declared today a day of action with protests planned in a number of cities around the country.
The Yellow Vest UK group came to prominence earlier when some of it supporters filmed themselves shouting ‘Nazi’ and ‘liar’ at the Conservative MP Anna Soubry outside the House of Commons on Monday.
While it is not know why Mr Goddard has been arrested, it is understood it does not relate to any incident that took place today.
Mr Goddard’s Facebook and PayPal account have been suspended after some of his comments were found to have breached their policies.
The former forklift truck driver has declared he is a full-time political activist who will “rattle” the Establishment to ensure Britain leaves the European Union.
In a Facebook video filmed outside Parliament he is seen stabbing his finger at police as he declares: “You wanna war, I’ll give you a war. You want it, it’s on.”
He then rounds on a policeman, asking: “Who do you think you are pint-sized? Don’t touch me” before apparently telling someone: “You’re fair game. You ain’t even f***ing British.”
Mr Goddard supports Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who as Tommy Robinson founded the English Defence League (EDL) in 2009 which held anti-Muslim protests, highlighting cases where Asian gangs had groomed young girls.
Pride of place among Mr Goddard’s Facebook pictures is a photograph of him with Yaxley-Lennon.
Mr Goddard has defended the group in his social media broadcasts, claiming “there’s nothing wrong with the EDL, they’ve done some brilliant work over the years.”
Born Jamie Patrick Goddard in Leicester July 1989, he is the only child of Mark and Stephanie Goddard, who have since split up.
According to a school friend, Mr Goddard attended a comprehensive school and then worked as a forklift truck driver before getting a job at a local taxi company.View image on Twitter
He came to prominence as a Far Right activist after persuading organisers at a ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ rally last summer in Westminster to allow him to speak on stage.
In his speech, he called politicians “satanic paedophiles” and the “unwashed, anti-British scum,” adding: “This is a message to the Establishment, to those on the Left – we are coming for you. We are not tolerating this anymore. You are not raping our kids. You are not murdering us.”
Much of his invective is reserved for Islam, claiming the religion is “a political ideology that advocates for your death” and terror attacks are being covered up by the authorities.
Since then he has travelled to demonstrations in major cities across the UK,
including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Sunderland, Manchester and Leeds.
He has embraced Facebook and Twitter to promote his cause, claiming the “mainstream media” is biased.
And, like many others who dedicate themselves to being full-time activists, he had set up a PayPal accounts where supporters sent him money, although he does not say how much he has raised.
On his Facebook page he insisted “I’m not in this to make money,” adding: “This hasn’t been easy, I’ve also seen my personal life affected by this.”
He has said he “will be out six days a week confronting the Remoaners at Parliament,” adding that he has lost jobs because employers often discover his political leanings from his online posts.
At the demonstrations he helps promote, he leads chants that include, ‘You can stick your flag with stars on up your a***’ as well as asking “Who funds drunk Steve?”, a reference to Steven Bray the anti-Brexit campaigner who regularly infuriates BBC and Sky News broadcasters by waving pro-European placards in front of their cameras.
In one of his many videos posted online he targeted the Guardian columnist, Owen Jones, calling him a “vile pretentious pr**k” and a “lying snake” before accusing him of trying to get a date with one of his fellow male protestors.
Mr Goddard has insisted he has done nothing wrong and has rejected the suggestion he was simply trying to make money through donations.
He has also vehemently denied claims he was racist.