Conservative Net Zero Scrutiny Group MP Retweets Fake News Publisher of Holocaust Denial
Steve Baker repeatedly retweeted the creator of a far-right Canadian website, reports Nafeez Ahmed
A senior member of the new Conservative Net Zero Scrutiny Group – a collection of Tory Party MPs opposed to net zero targets and policies – retweeted a far-right publisher of racist and antisemitic fake news including Holocaust denial.
Conservative MP Steve Baker – a central figure in the new group set up by his colleague Craig Mackinlay – repeatedly retweeted Ezra Levant, the creator of far-right Canadian website Rebel News. Baker is also a leading member of the Tories’ COVID Recovery Group and the pro-Brexit European Research Group.
The tweets on 19 February concerned complaints by Rebel News employee Alexa Lavoie, that she was deliberately attacked by Ottawa police while reporting on the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests against vaccine mandates. Several reputable journalists have challenged the accuracy of Lavoie’s and Levant’s account.
Founded by QAnon conspiracy theorist and far-right activist James Bauder, the ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests have since enrolled a broad coalition of fed-up truck drivers, neo-Nazis, anti-vaxxers, and fringe political party members.
Mathew Ingram, of Columbia Journalism Review, has pointed to evidence that the domain name of a website launched by Ezra Levant to raise funds in support of Lavoie – StandWithAlexa.com – appears to have been registered by Levant hours before the incident.
According to reporter Eli Clifton, Levant’s platform has “a history of bigotry and antisemitism” and “once published a ‘satirical video’ titled ‘Ten Things I Hate About Jews’”.
Rebel News has not only released materials defending Holocaust denial, its staffers have disturbing connections to white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups. The website has, for instance, hired former Donald Trump advisor Sebastian Gorka, who was belatedly fired after being outed for ties with Hungarian Nazi collaborators.
Rebel News also hired notorious, convicted far-right provocateur Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (known as ‘Tommy Robinson’) who previously headed-up the white nationalist street protest movement, the English Defence League (EDL).
In 2017, Canadian Conservative Party politicians scrambled to distance themselves from Rebel News after one of its contributors, Gavin McInnes, “let loose an antisemitic rant on his internet talk show”.
Ezra Levant is on record for defending McInnes, who described how visiting the Holocaust museum caused him to question the number of Jews killed and the very existence of gas chambers at Nazi concentration camps. He also referred to the “Holocaust” in air quotes. His Rebel News show received shout-outs from white nationalist Richard Spencer and Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.
Steve Baker’s uncritical retweeting of propaganda from the founder of Rebel News – a far-right, antisemitic fake news website – thus appears to throw unnerving light on his ideological sympathies and lack of judgement.
But Ezra Levant is not the only questionable individual whom Baker amplifies to his more than 150,000 Twitter followers.
Baker’s most recent tweets are links to articles published by ‘Net Zero Watch’ – a new website published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a notorious climate science denial lobby group with ties to fossil fuel firms.
He has also repeatedly retweeted and endorsed alt-right figurehead Jordan Peterson’s efforts to defend the ‘Freedom Convoy’.
While criticising the Canadian Government’s response, Baker had nothing to say about the alarming evidence that the ‘Freedom Convoy’ has metamorphosed into a vehicle for far-right extremism.
As Byline Times has previously revealed, Peterson exposed his avid support for scientific racism in conversation with notorious white nationalist extremist, Stefan Molyneux.
Baker’s social media amplification of far-right figures from the US and Canada throws further light on the interests animating his political trajectory. According to US corporate filings recently reported by Byline Times, Baker’s current political campaign vehicle, Conservative Way Forward, has been controlled by pro-Trump lobbyists involved in an organisation directly linked to Cambridge Analytica, and bankrolled by Robert and Rebekah Mercer to the tune of at least $655,000.
His recent retweets suggest that the Conservative Net Zero Scrutiny Group’s scepticism of robust climate action and renewable energy is not grounded in science, nor even in real British nationalism – but rather in a dangerous far-right ideology imported from across the Atlantic.
The Conservative Party, Steve Baker MP and Craig Mackinlay MP did not respond to requests for comment.