Two neo-Nazi groups have been banned by the Home Office after they were confirmed to be aliases for an already proscribed group.
Scottish Dawn and NS131 (National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action) were said to be set up to allow the outlawed group National Dawn to effectively continue operating.
From tomorrow, the Home Office confirmed to BuzzFeed News, membership or inviting support of either group will be a criminal offence, carrying a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
Home secretary Amber Rudd said National Action was a “vile racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic group” that promotes a “poisonous ideology”.
“I will not allow them to masquerade under different names,” she said.
The Metropolitan police welcomed the Home Office decision, stating it would help “disrupt and tackle the growing threat from the extreme right wing”.
“We remain committed to tackling all toxic ideologies which threaten the public’s safety and are just as determined to stop right-wing terrorism as we are Islamist attacks against the UK,” Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the head of UK counter-terrorism policing, said in a statement.
A spokesperson for anti-racism advocacy group Hope Not Hate told BuzzFeed News they welcomed the organisations’ ban, but said the government needed to “effectively monitor and enforce these bans”.
National Action, which was banned in December 2016, had promoted material that inferred that violence acts – including the murder of MP Jo Cox – should be matched.
The group had extended its links to Scotland earlier this year according to an investigation, undertaken by the Daily Record and The Ferret, that filmed activists with Scottish Dawn admitting their links to National Action.
It follows a police operation on 27 September when 11 men were arrested as part of a national investigation into the banned group. Earlier this month, three British Army soliders were charged under terror laws for belonging to the group.