A British National Party activist was arrested on suspicion of hurling homophobic abuse at a woman during a party fundraiser in St Helens.
A spokesman for left wing campaign group Hope Not Hate says the man in question is 46-year-old Martin Reynolds - who they say is a bodyguard of party leader Nick Griffin.
He claimed the victim was a photographer who was “going about her lawful business” when a flashpoint occurred as the party held a fundraising event at the Springfield pub in Thatto Heath on Saturday (March 15).
Police confirmed that officers were called to Forrester Avenue at about 6pm.
A spokesman said: “Officers were called by a woman reporting that a man had got out of a car and made a derogatory remark towards her.
“Patrols attended and, as a result of inquiries made at the scene, a 46-year-old man from the Leeds area was arrested on suspicion of a homophobically aggravated public order offence.”
The suspect was subsequently questioned at St Helens police’s College Street headquarters and has since been released on police bail pending further inquiries.
In a statement posted on its website the British National Party claimed: “Clearly there is political harassment taking place in an attempt to stop our party from raising funds to fight in the Euro Elections.”
Nick Griffin also posted messages on Twitter following the arrest.
One read: “Great response and meeting in St Helens. So police have arrested Martin Reynolds. Handcuffed and carted off.”
He claimed the meeting had helped to raise more than £2,500 for the party’s “Euro fund”.
Anyone with information about the alleged incident can call police on the non-emergency number 101.