Britain First (formed 2011) is a United Kingdom based Far-Right political party founded in 2011 by former members of the British National Party. The group primarily campaigns against multiculturalism and the "Islamification" of Britain. The group has been responsible for the radicalisation of many far-right terrorists, although they deny this.
Britain First's ideology has been described as fascist, xenophobic and Islamophobic by many, although others have pointed out that calling the group fascist is incorrect, as they do not oppose democratic policies. The group's actual policies are to, as they put it, "protect British and Christian morality" and "Preserve our ancestral ethnic and cultural heritage". One of their main policies is to put indigenous, non-immigrant British people first in housing, jobs, welfare, education and health because they are the majority. They also campaign against Islam, which they describe as "barbaric".
Former BNP member Jim Dowson founded the group in 2011 after being expelled from the BNP for allegedly groping a female activist. The group is structured similarly to the Ulster Defence Association, possibly due to Dowson's links to the group, as it has a political wing backed up with a paramilitary wing, the Britain First Defence Force.
In November 2011, Britain First attempted to register a political party, the National People's Party, with Britain First's current leader Paul Golding at the helm. However, the Electoral Commission found that Britain First were already listed as a political party and rejected the application.
Dowson left the party in 2014, stating that "mosque invasions" performed by the group were "unacceptable and unchristian" and "just as bad as Anjem Choudary".
On 16th June 2016, anti-Brexit MP Jo Cox was assassinated by EDL member Thomas Mair. Several witnesses later claimed that Mair had shouted "Britain First!" before murdering Cox, although several went on the record as stating that they were unsure whether he shouted "Britain First!" or "Put Britain First!", and Golding pointed out that the group had not openly called for the killing and the phrase could have been a slogan. Soon after, the Far-Right group National Action was outlawed as a potential terrorist threat, and MP Louise Haigh proposed the outlawing of Britain First soon after, although this went nowhere.
In July 2019, the Electoral Commission accused Britain First of committing a series of offences breaking the electoral regulations and fined them £44, 000 before removing them from the electoral register.
- As mentioned above, Britain First's very existence is controversial due to their views and policies, which have been called xenophobic, Islamophobic, militaristic and even fascist, as their policies include banning the British Broadcasting Company, or BBC, for criticizing them, and making it a criminal offence for the media to use the word "racism".
- They have been accused of producing misleading media due to various incidents such as accusing Britain's first female police officer, who was killed by the Taliban, of being a terrorist and falsely linking the burqa to terrorism.
- They have even been accused of Defamation over the posting of photoshopped images that made it look like those protesting against Islamophobia were protesting for the killing of non-Muslims.
- In 2014, Britain First were accused of fraud by the Advertising Standards Agency after they were ruled to have falsely implied that their merchandise was British made when it wasn't.
- In May 2017, Golding and his deputy leader Jayda Fransen were convicted of religiously aggravated harassment at the end of a widely publicised trial for leading "mosque invasions" during which they and other Britain First members would force their way into mosques and hand out Britain First leaflets.
- On 19th June 2017, EDL supporter Darren Osbourne drove a van through a group of Muslims leaving Finsbury Park Mosque, killing one and injuring eight. During the subsequent investigation, Osbourne was found to have been in contact with Britain First before the attack, having even received direct Twitter messages from Fransen and EDL founder Tommy Robinson telling him that Muslims were planning to create a state based on Sharia Law, which were later ruled to be what radicalised him.
- On 23rd June 2017, Polish immigrant Marek Zakrocki, a Neo-Nazi and Britain First supporter, attempted to commit an Islamophobic terrorist attack when he drove at curry house owner Kamal Ahmed and attempted to run him over with a white van, having been inspired by Britain First's rhetoric.