Far-right terror offenders up nearly five times since Jo Cox’s murder

Far-right terror offenders up nearly five times since Jo Cox’s murder

Number in jail for neo-Nazi crimes has increased, with twenty-eight convicts or suspects held over claims

Police stopping anti-fascist protesters from clashing with far-right National Action members 

Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Police stopping anti-fascist protesters from clashing with far-right National Action members Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The number of people in prison for far-right terror offences has increased by nearly five times since the neo-Nazi murder of Jo Cox, figures have revealed.

Twenty-eight convicted terrorists or suspects were being held for offences connected to right-wing extremism at the end of June, compared to just six when the Labour MP was killed.

White supremacist Thomas Mair, 55, shouted “Britain first” as he shot the mother-of-two before repeatedly stabbing her in Birstall, West Yorkshire, in June 2016.

The latest Home Office statistics show an average of six alleged far-right supporters were being held in jails – either on remand pending trial or having been convicted – from 2013 to her death.

But this increased to 10 the year after, before reaching the 28 seen in June.

With 178 being held, accused Islamists still make up the majority but their share inside prisons has shrunk.

The Home Office figures show some 13% of those held on terror offences are said to be right-wing extremists, compared to 4% at the time of the MP’s murder.

Others being held include Darren Osborne, who ploughed a van into Muslim worshippers in Finsbury Park, north London. The father-of-four was said to have been “rapidly radicalised” by far-right online material.

Members of National Action, the first right-wing group to become a proscribed terrorist organisation, are also among the jailed population.

Figures for the year up to June 2018 also show how the number of white people arrested on suspicion of terror offences outnumbered Asian suspects for the first time since June 2005, shortly before the London bombings.

Commenting on the findings, a Hope Not Hate spokesman said: “The police and authorities were slow to catch on to the threat of far-right terror.

“Far-right extremists can be as dangerous as their flip-side in Islamist movements.”

Security minister Ben Wallace said: “Our police, security services and the wider criminal justice system work tirelessly to keep us safe from the threat we face from terrorism.

“These figures show our response is working and we are now seeing more terrorism trials than ever and longer sentences for the most dangerous offenders.”

This comes after Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger was honoured with the Jo Cox award for fighting hate crime at this year’s NO2H8 Crime Awards, media sponsored by Jewish News.

Luciana Berger paid tribute to the murdered MP after being honoured for standing up to the hate she and others have faced for being Jewish.

erger has also been at the forefront of challenging anti-Semitism in her party over recent months, speaking out over anti-Semitic mural whose removal Jeremy Corby had once questioned and taking to the stage at the historic Enough is Enough demonstration a few days later.

Earlier this year, she was applauded by MPs from across the House of Commons after speaking movingly of the sickening abuse she has suffered online since the age of 19 – from both the right and the left. Addressing anti-Semitism within her own party, she said: “Being a bystander who turns the other way is not an option,” she said. “The time for action is now. Enough really is enough.”

She told the Jewish News: “I am deeply honoured to have won this award. Jo Cox was a friend and she embodied courage and fortitude. To receive an honour in her memory is a great privilege. What Jo taught us is to stand up for our beliefs, no matter how daunting or insurmountable the obstacles may seem. That’s what I shall continue to do.”

She has seen five men in court over anti-Semitic abuse directed towards her, with four of them receiving prison sentences. So bad has been the abuse she has faced online that she was forced to turn off notifications. One recent tweet attracted 1,000 messages of hate – overwhelmingly from men.

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