Brexit could cause an increase in far-right activity and violence, a new analysis has revealed.
According to the report by Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre (JTIC), Brexit could cause an upsurge in far-right hate, as well as Republicanism in Ireland. This, they say, could lead to acts of violence against politicians and EU nationals.
Speaking about the findings, Alex Thedosious, an analyst at JTIC, said:
“Between 2017 and 2019, JTIC has noted a small but significant rise in terrorist group actions towards political targets in the UK – pointing towards a possible growth in the far-right’s disaffection with the political establishment.
“This is likely the result of the UK’s charged, polarized, political situation.”
The centre recorded 74 terror-related attacks since 2018, and found that there are more sources of terrorism than ever before.
“An increase in far-right activity is likely following a Brexit that is deemed unsatisfactory to extremist groups – for example, an economic downturn could lead to a potential rise in anti-government sentiment.”
Theodosius also warned that MPs could be the target of attacks in the wake of Brexit. In 2016, Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by Thomas Mair, who was linked to the far-right, and multiple MPs have reported receiving death threats since Cox’s murder.
The centre also found risks of violence against EU nationals – which follows our report last month, showing councils have concerns that anti-immigrant ideas could surge after Brexit, once people realise that most immigrants aren’t leaving the UK.
There is also a heightened risk of Republican violence in Ireland, according to JTIC. They found that 62% of terrorist attacks recorded in 2019 happened in Northern Ireland – supporting fears that Brexit could hamper the Irish peace process.
Chris Hawkins, a senior analyst at JTCI, said that Irish nationalist groups “likely have the intent to up their operational tempo as the Brexit deadline approaches”.
As well as being a bureaucratic nightmare, it now seems compelling that Brexit could fuel hate and violence.