UKIP suspends senior figure and two others over bookshop ransacking
Elizabeth Jones, Luke Nash-Jones and Martin Costello have now been suspended from the party pending investigation into the alleged incident
UKIP has suspended three of its members - including Elizabeth Jones, a member of the party's National Executive Committee - after a dozen far-right agitators stormed into a socialist bookshop over the weekend.
Earlier today, UKIP Leader Gerard Batten told JOE it considered the alleged actions "utterly moronic and disgraceful" and the party was assessing whether to "take action on the three UKIP members in the footage".
Now JOE has learned that those members: Elizabeth Jones, Luke Nash-Jones and Martin Costello, have been suspended by UKIP chairman Tony McIntyre, while the party investigates whether they were present at the incident.
"It is understood that the three members were involved in an incident at the Bookmarks bookshop in London on Saturday," the party said.
Shocking video footage filmed on Saturday evening shows 12 people storming into Bookmarks, a radical bookshop in central London, chanting “We love Trump! We love Trump!” and accusing the two members of staff of being “paedophile lovers”.
Bookmarks employee Noel Halifax, 67, described his and his colleagues' fright after the group arrived at the shop around 18.35 on Saturday evening.
He told JOE: "There were only two of us in the shop, it was quite late in the day and they were about to close and they were shouting and bellowing – scaring off the few customers we had.
"They knocked over the displays and tore up magazines and newspapers. We asked them to leave and had to ring the bell [to get them to]– they were wearing caps and banners saying 'Make Britain Great Again'.
"This hasn’t happened to us since the 1970s when the shop was attacked by the National Front. They feel emboldened and able to do this sort of thing, I think the Alt-Right movement generally feel empowered to do it. What they were saying wasn’t logical."
A Met spokesman confirmed that police were called at "approximately 18:35hrs on Saturday, 4 August to reports of a protest inside a shop on Bloomsbury Street."
They added: “Police received a second call a short time later stating that the group had left the premises after causing some damage inside the shop. There were no injuries. An appointment has been made for officers to speak with the complainant. No arrests have been made.”
The protest was condemned by politicians including Rupa Huq MP (Lab) who called it "utterly despicable".
"Free speech and independent bookshops - under threat in an age where intolerance and Amazon flourish - should be cherished," she tweeted.
Watch the footage of the incident here: