Far-right group Britain First has been allowed by the Election Commission to re-register as a political party.
The watchdog said an official application “meets the legal criteria”, despite leader Paul Golding’s conviction for terroristic crimes and hate crimes.
In a statement, Britain First vowed to field candidates as a “full political party” in the upcoming elections.
“This is a resounding victory for Britain’s First Movement,” it said in an email to supporters.
“While our street activities will continue, this day marks the birth of Britain First as a traditional political party that will take the fight through the ballot box to the establishment.”
Britain First was a political party from 2010 until it was unregistered by the Election Commission in 2017 for administrative reasons.
It became infamous for the “mosque attack” and other activism targeting Muslims, and was condemned by the government in 2017 after Donald Trump shared Britain’s first tweet.
At the time, Britain First had a large number of followers on Twitter and over 2 million likes on Facebook, but the page has since been taken down.
Its official registration as a political party was announced on Monday, hours after Golding, 39, and his former deputy, Jayda Franson, 35, agreed to pay “substantial damages” to settle the defamation case. Happened.
The High Court heard that he falsely claimed involvement in terror financing to the Halal Food Authority and two employees in February 2017 and made no defense of the resulting defamation claim.
Both Golding and Franson were jailed in March 2018 for religiously aggravated persecution, after filming and harassing innocent Muslim victims who were wrongfully believed to be involved in a rape trial.
In May last year, Golding was convicted of an offense under the Terrorism Act for refusing to allow police access to his phone and computer while traveling from Russia back to the UK.
He is listed on the Election Commission website as the leader of Britain First, while treasurer Tim Burton was convicted in 2017 of harassing an anti-hate crime campaigner.
Granthshala understands that his sentence is not an impediment to registering as an official of the party under electoral law.
The registration process does not involve an assessment of political policies or views, although the Election Commission must examine any constitution or membership policy as part of its public sector equality duty.
There have been previous calls to ban Britain First in the wake of attacks by its supporters.
Finsbury Park terrorist Darren Osborne read material from far-right activists, including Fransen and Golding, before van vandalizing Muslim worshipers in June 2017.
A few days later, Britain’s first supporter, Marek Zakroki, drove his car into a restaurant after calling his wife “killing a Muslim” and “doing this for Britain”.
The extremist, who also had a kitchen knife and a Nazi coin, donated money to Britain First and police found the group’s passengers at his home.
An Election Commission spokesman said: “The application to register Britain First as a political party has been approved. We evaluated this application against the criteria set forth in the law, considering public comments submitted to us.” The party’s application satisfies the legal criteria and therefore the party has been registered.
In 2019, Britain First was fined more than £44,000 for several violations of electoral law, including undeclared donations and failure to provide proper financial records or accounts.
At the time, the EC said it had shown “disregard for the law” and a “disappointing lack of transparency in the party’s finances”.
Britain previously attempted to bring a legal challenge against the Electoral Commission for refusing to register the group as a political party in Northern Ireland, but in March a Belfast judge dismissed the case.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /