The far-right: What is Britain First?

Britain First classes itself as a “patriotic political party and street movement” with nearly two million Facebook followers.

This week, President Donald Trump provoked an outcry when he shared anti-Muslim videos posted online by the far-right group’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen.

Britain First was formed in 2011 by former members of the British National Party and actively campaigns against multiculturalism and the “Islamisation” of the UK. It is widely condemned as racist.

It is led by former BNP councillor Paul Golding and former English Defence League member Jayda Fransen.

:: Activities

Paul Golding during a protest following the Westminster terror attack in April

Image: Paul Golding during a protest following the Westminster terror attack in April

The group conducted “Christian patrols” in Tower Hamlets, east London, in February 2014. Activists filmed themselves holding a banner stating “We Are The British Resistance” and emptying beer cans outside a mosque.

In May 2014, Britain First invaded ten mosques in Bradford, along with others in Glasgow, Luton and east London.

In July 2014, members of the group entered the Crayford Mosque in south London, demanding that its segregated entrances be removed.

Both Golding and Ms Fransen were charged with causing religiously aggravated harassment in September 2017 in relation to leaflets distributed in Thanet and Canterbury.

Golding was also jailed for eight weeks in December 2016 for breaking a court order banning him from entering mosques.

:: Election history

Golding turns his back on Sadiq Khan after he won the London mayor race in May 2016

Image: Golding turns his back on Sadiq Khan after he won the London mayor race in May 2016

2014 European elections – Candidates stood in Wales and Scotland. The party failed to win any seats, finishing 8th of 11 in Wales with 6,633 votes and 7th of nine in Scotland with 13,639 votes.

During the campaign it used the phrase “Remember Lee Rigby” – a reference to the fusilier killed in 2013 in London – which was widely condemned.

2014 Rochester and Strood by-election – Fransen stood as a candidate. She lost her deposit, winning only 56 votes. The seat was won by UKIP.

Royal Mail had refused to deliver a leaflet for the party during the by-election, claiming its contents were illegal.

2016 London mayor election – Golding stood as the Britain First candidate, but won only 1.2% of the votes (31,372).

He was pictured at the count turning his back on Labour’s winning candidate Sadiq Khan.

Britain First was deregistered by the Electoral Commission in November after failing to confirm its registered details and pay a £25 fee.

That means it cannot now place candidates on ballot papers under the name Britain First.

:: Policies

A supporter wears a Britain First logo during a rally in Rochester in 2014

Image: A supporter wears a Britain First logo during a rally in Rochester in 2014

The group has a number of policies centred around immigration and the maintenance of British national sovereignty.

They include:

  • Halt any further immigration except in special cases
  • Reject and deport asylum seekers who do not originate from countries bordering the UK
  • Bar followers of Islam from public office
  • A comprehensive ban on Islam in the UK, including halal slaughter, Sharia courts, religious publications and the operation of mosques
  • Ban on the use of Islamic face coverings, including the burka
  • Ban the word “racism” in the media
  • Scrap foreign aid budget
  • National Service for habitual offenders
  • Restoration of capital punishment for paedophiles, terrorists and murderers