Graham Macklin

The Evolution of Extreme-Right Terrorism and Efforts to Counter It in the United Kingdom

Combating Terrorism Center at West Point


The murder of Jo Cox MP by a white supremacist on June 16, 2016, in the midst of the EU Referendum campaign catapulted the issue of extreme-right terrorism to the forefront of British politics. As the electoral fortunes of extreme-right political parties in the United Kingdom have declined, racist revolutionary violence has reemerged as a significant concern for British authorities. The focal point has been National Action—a small, overtly national socialist groupuscule that in December 2016 became the first extreme-right group to be banned in the United Kingdom since 1940 and the first ever such group to be proscribed as a “terrorist” organization. British authorities were subsequently confronted with a new networked threat posed by clusters of activists who continued to operate clandestinely after the ban, as well as a larger and more nebulous threat from extreme right-wing “lone actors” and have responded with an increasingly coordinated and multi-layered approach.