Spence was once active in the BNP, and even stood as a parliamentary candidate for the Newcastle upon Tyne East constituency in 2010. ('until such time it became apparent that the BNP had an agenda that was contrary to my own' ).
He writes of his own background within the EDL: 'I joined the EDL as a foot soldier in 2009, taking on the role of North East Regional Organiser in 2011. I have travelled across the country on EDL business for years.' 
- On December 3 2011, he was sentenced to jail for 7 months after storming a Newcastle club along with '20 thugs, many wearing EDL hooded tops'. They forced their entry, attacking door staff, and set off a fire extinguisher inside the Irish Centre in scenes captured on CCTV. Their targets – the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) – were not even in the building at that moment. 
- In January 2015, 15 members of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) including Spence, disrupted a Newcastle book club meeting with Islamophobic chants, in the belief that Revolution author Russell Brand, whose book was the evening’s topic, would be attending the event. Alan Spence claimed activists attacked the meeting in retaliation for similar disruption during their events by left-wingers:
- 'The last time we had a North East meet-and-greet, some of the left-wing went down to the pub and abused the barmaid, prior to us getting there. So we thought it was time we returned the favor. Any left-wing organization in the North East should expect a visit from the EDL if this happens again.' 
- In February 2016, Derbyshire police compared the English Defence league and the British National Party to the Islamic State, saying they are 'just as much of a real threat in terms of community division, hatred and deplorable acts'. A spokesperson for the BNP told the Huffington Post UK they would be contacting police to demand an apology. Spence wrote that 'the murky world of hate crime and counter-terrorism is a totally different world from which the EDL operates. We are no closer to that world than are UKIP, the Conservative Party or any other legal political grouping or national charity.' 
- Alan Spence, message from our new Chairman., English Defence League, 8 May 2016. Accessed 06 October 2016.
- Rob Kennedy, EDL gang jailed for attack at Newcastle Irish Centre, Chronicle, December 3 2011. Accessed 06 October 2016.
- Right-wing English Defence League thugs attack Russell Brand book group – thinking comedian would be there, RT News, 13 January 2015. Accessed 06 October 2016.
- Steven Hopkins, English Defence League and British National Party are as dangerous as Islamic State, Derbyshire Police claim, Huffington Post, 18 February 2016.