It has been a disastrous night for UKIP, which has lurched to the extremes of crude anti-Muslim rhetoric under Gerard Batten, its fourth leader since Nigel Farage.
Winning just two seats in the council elections across England yesterday, the party has lost 92 councillors so far.
Other far-right parties – such as the British National Party and Anne Marie Waters’ For Britain Movement – have also failed across the board, too.
Yet as they are beaten at the ballot box, the far-right threat is increasingly moving to the streets and moving online.
Three of the world’s top 5 far-right activists (in terms of online reach) are British and, at its most extreme, elements of the far right have turned to terrorism and violence.
Nick Lowles, chief executive of HOPE not hate, said: “We should take a moment to enjoy the decline of extremist parties. It’s down to the hard work of thousands of anti-racist campaigners up and down the country, as well as incompetence and defections on the part of UKIP and the far right. Changing attitudes post-Brexit have also played a role.
“We have campaigned hard against UKIP in key areas and we welcome the rejection of Bill Etheridge in Dudley and the rejection of UKIP’s attempt to exploit the grooming scandal in its key target of Rochdale.
“But the failure of UKIP and the far right to compete in councils across the UK is no cause for complacency. With its numbers dwindling, UKIP is set to move in an increasingly poisonous direction, with Gerard Batten promising even more anti-Muslim bile as the party lurches to the far right.
“Both Batten and For Britain’s leader Anne Marie Waters have appeared in a promotional video for a far-right rally outside Parliament this weekend. Despite Morrissey’s backing, For Britain fell off a cliff, coming last in several of the 15 seats it was contending.
“As they are beaten at the ballot box, the threat now from hard-right extremists is a return to the streets. There is also an increasing threat online, as anti-Muslim activists exploit social media to manipulate and spread their message, as well as from far-right terror attacks, with killers like Darren Osborne rapidly radicalised after reading far-right material online.
“So while today we celebrate the great campaigning done by our supporters during this election, we need to recognise the shifting nature of the threat posed by the far right.”
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