| ||The Independent today reports that the far-right, anti-Muslim movement, the English Defence League, are to formally enter politics after agreeing an alliance with the British Freedom Party (BFP).|
The BFP was set up by former members of the BNP who were disaffected by the BNP's politics and lack of success.
From the Independent:
“The English Defence League plans to field candidates for the first time in local elections after an alliance was finalised between the far-right group and the British Freedom Party, which was set up by disgruntled members of the British National Party.
“Senior figures said that the EDL, which has become known for its protests in English towns with Muslim populations, needed to "detoxify" its name by moving into politics with an existing party. Their new partners hope to capitalise on the EDL's ability to mobilise a large number of supporters.
“Both groups will retain a measure of independence but will support each other. EDL members will be invited to join the newly affiliated political wing and stand as candidates under its name. "There is a gentleman's agreement in place, we are looking at the EDL becoming political early next year," said Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, the leader of the far-right group. Mr Yaxley-Lennon, who also goes by the name Tommy Robinson, confirmed he had met the British Freedom Party leader Paul Weston and that discussions were at an advanced stage.”
Commenting on the move, Dr Matthew Goodwin, author of several recent reports on far-right movements in the UK and Europe, stated that,
"Since the widespread defeat for the BNP in last year's general election, the far right-wing landscape of British politics has seen the emergence of several small political parties and movements, all attempting to fill the gaps left by Nick Griffin's party and exploit wider public concerns about immigration."
He added, “at least 45 per cent of voters refused to back any of the main parties on immigration, leaving "clear potential" for a far-right group.
"It has also developed links with far more successful radical right parties in other European states, that may pass on successful strategies and tips."
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