We have written to Home Secretary Suella Braverman in the wake of findings from HOPE not Hate which show a link between the government’s anti-migrant rhetoric and far-right activity.

The research shows that:

  • Far-right engagement around migration is increasing as the government’s Refugee Ban Bill campaign continues.

HOPE not Hate found a 149% increase in messages on anti-migrant far-right channels on Telegram from 2021 to the first months of 2023

  • Far-right activity online spikes around key government announcements.

For example, in May 2022, an announcement by Boris Johnson that 50 asylum seekers had been told they would be sent to Rwanda led to a 72% increase in messages about migration in far-right groups on Telegram.

  • Far-right engagement on migration increases when media coverage increases.

Articles in The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Sun and local media are shared in far-right anti-migrant discussions on Telegram, often alongside extreme racist language.

Researchers also highlighted that the home secretary’s anti-migrant rhetoric has been frequently repeated in far-right messaging.

Last October Suella Braverman claimed the south coast of England was being ‘invaded’ by people seeking asylum, which then led to a 52% rise in the use of word ‘invasion’ on Telegram.

Our joint letter, signed along with HOPE not Hate, Refugee Council and Freedom from Torture, among others, states:

“New research from HOPE not hate provides clear evidence that hostile government and media rhetoric on migration is escalating far-right anti-migrant activity.

“We are calling for an end to the use of inflammatory language by elected politicians that scapegoats individuals seeking asylum as targets for hate.

“We are concerned that if those in positions of power in politics and the media do not immediately change course people seeking sanctuary and their communities will be at greater threat of physical violence.”

Read the full report from HOPE not hate.

Asylum rules in the UK are changing. Find out more

Gilly Furmage
Author: Gilly Furmage