Downing Street has said it was “wrong” for Donald Trump to share anti-Muslim videos posted online by the far-right group Britain First.
The US President retweeted three posts by the organisation’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen to his 43.6 million followers, including unverified footage purporting to show Muslims committing crimes.
Responding to Mr Trump’s actions, Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokesman said: “It is wrong for the president to have done this.
“Britain First seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddles lies and stokes tensions.
“The British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudice of Britain First that is the antithesis of the values of our country.”
Despite the controversy, the PM’s spokesman said the invitation for Mr Trump to make a state visit to the UK early next year still stands.
The President shared three unverified videos including one titled “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and another two purporting to show attacks carried out by other Muslims.
Fransen, who faces trial next year accused of religiously aggravated harassment, appeared to celebrate the President’s actions, tweeting moments later: “God bless you Trump! God bless America!”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended the President’s retweets, telling reporters: “Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real and that is what the President is talking about.
“His goal is to promote strong border security and strong national security,” she added.
Last year, MPs called for Britain First to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation after the murder of MP Jo Cox, who was killed by a right-wing extremist shouting “Britain first”.
Ms Cox’s widower Brendan criticised Mr Trump for retweeting the group’s videos, saying the President “should be ashamed of himself”.
“Trump has legitimised the far-right in his own country, now he’s trying to do it in ours,” Mr Cox wrote on Twitter.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had called on the Government to condemn Mr Trump’s actions which he described as “abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society”.
Meanwhile, former shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna called for the President’s planned state visit to the UK to be scrapped.
“Words do not do justice to this. He is normalising hatred,” Mr Umunna told Sky News.
“I don’t think he is welcome here.”
Fransen, from Penge, south-east London, is on bail facing trial over four charges of causing religiously aggravated harassment after an investigation into the distribution of leaflets and the posting of online videos during a trial last May.
The 31-year-old will go on trial at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on 29 January, alongside Britain First leader Paul Golding, who faces three similar charges.
Fransen will also appear in court in Northern Ireland in December charged with using threatening and abusive language in connection with a speech she made at an anti-terrorism demonstration in Belfast on 6 August.