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Will Britain Get a New Right Party?
London, England, UK. 20th Jan, 2022. Former Chief Political Adviser to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Dominic Cummings. Alamy

Will Britain Get a New Right Party?

If the Conservative Party slumps to defeat in next year’s election, Britain could see the rise of a populist alternative.

· 8 min read

In 1932, a charismatic aristocrat named Sir Oswald Mosley founded the British Union of Fascists, an organisation that strove to popularise the ideas and strategies of Italian Fascism and German Nazism, including the hatred of Jews, Roma, homosexuals, and the disabled. Within a few years, it had recruited some 40–50,000 members. Mosley and most of the BUF’s membership (including Mosley’s wife) were interned by the British government in 1940, and the organisation was banned. In 1943, Mosley was released from jail and placed under house arrest. After the war, he continued to spread fascist and racist ideas, and died in France in 1980, his life a failure.

By the time the war ended in 1945, Britain was broke, but its international reputation had been enhanced by a longer struggle with Nazism than its allies. Consequently, a far-Right party of any size was never able to become a viable project. Small far-Right, fascist-inclined groups emerged to target immigrants, but any success they enjoyed was local and short-lived, and the Conservative administration of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1979–90) left no space for a radical right-wing tendency.

The past seven years, however, have been torrid in many countries, not least in the UK. Britain has left the European Union, the malign effects of the COVID pandemic continue, and social and economic strife have provided a backdrop to the rise of far-Right parties in a number of continental nations. Britain’s ruling Conservative Party has cycled through four leaders in that time (Liz Truss managed only 44 days in office, making her the shortest-serving PM in British history) and now appears to be doomed to a savage defeat when an election is held next year. The party is at war with itself, unable to halt illegal immigration, and presides over some of the highest inflation in Europe.

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