Britons think the far right is a greater threat than Islamist extremism, says poll

Supporters of far-right activist Tommy Robinson outside the Old Bailey in London after he was jailed last week for nine months for contempt of court (Picture: PA)

The British public believe the far right is a greater threat than Islamist extremists, a poll has revealed.

It is the first time in recent years that participants in the survey for the Hope Not Hate campaign group have said far-right groups are the bigger concern to public order.

One in three of the more than 6,000 people surveyed said far-right groups were the “biggest threat to community cohesion and public order”, an increase from 28% when the same question was posed in February.

In the same time, the percentage who identified Islamist extremist groups as the greatest threat fell from 35% to 28%.

Hope Not Hate believes the shift could be down to a number of recent high-profile far-right attacks such as the Christchurch mosques killings in New Zealand in March.

Far-right groups were named the biggest threat by 57% of Jewish respondents to the survey and 62% of Muslims.

The report was published a week after former English Defence League leader and far-right activist Tommy Robinson - real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon - was jailed for nine months for contempt of court after he filmed suspects in a child sex grooming trial.

Far-right activist Tommy Robinson was jailed last week (Picture: PA)

Just 3% of respondents who view him favourably consider the far right the greatest threat to public order.

The report found that the public continue to see Muslims more negatively than any other group.

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It said anti-Muslim prejudice is “concentrated among those who see immigration and multiculturalism most negatively, but is also present amongst people who generally have otherwise liberal and tolerant attitudes”.

The Fear and Hope 2019 report also found that the Brexit process is “decaying public trust in the political system”, leading to “growing animosity between those who feel most strongly about Brexit”.

The report read: “There are significant divisions in our core identities and how we see ourselves and interpret the world around us, with a growing ‘culture war’ between those who celebrate diversity and those who perceive growing diversity as a challenge to their own position in the world.

The report said Brexit had divided the UK (Picture: PA)

“Our relationship with traditional political parties is breaking, and the two party system in Britain is fracturing.

“Our polling and modelling suggests that no party could win a majority as it stands, and we may be looking at months, if not years, of political deadlock.”

Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope Not Hate, said: “The findings in this new report today are clear: Brexit has changed Britain.

“Old allegiances and affiliations have been ripped up. The anger from social liberals that was so palpable in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 EU Referendum has been replaced by frustration and anger from Brexiteers at our failure to leave.

“Just as Brexit had driven a coach and horses through our traditional political allegiances, so it had also altered our cultural and identity identities.”

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