Far-right terror detentions soar since Jo Cox’s murder

Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered in Birstall near Leed.
Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered in Birstall near Leed.

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.”