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Government immigration rhetoric enabling far right: HOPE not hate research finds


New research finds inflammatory Government rhetoric on immigration feeding the far right

New research from the UK's leading campaign group against the far right, HOPE not hate, shows that the Government's inflammatory anti-migrant rhetoric and harmful press coverage is encouraging far-right activists online.

Using data analysis of Telegram messages, media articles and Government announcements, we have found that anti-migrant messages on far-right Telegram chats spike following Government statements and around policy announcements like the Rwanda Plan.

These deeply worrying findings show that the Government's language and harmful policies are fanning the flames of anti-migrant sentiment which encourages far-right activity.

HOPE not hate has found that:

  • Far-right engagement on migration is increasing as the Government's ‘Stop the boats' campaign ramps up. HOPE not hate found a149% increase in messages on anti-migrant far-right channels on Telegram from 2021 to the first months of 2023.That's from an average of 761 messages per day in 2021 to 1136 per day during the first months of 2023.
  • Far-right activity online spikes around key Government announcements. In an example from May 2022, an announcement by Boris Johnson that 50 asylum seekers had been told they would be sent to Rwanda led to a72% increasein messages about migration in far-right groups on Telegram.
  • In recent months,migrant accommodation has been talked about at an all-time high with an increase of 316.67% from 2021. This coincides with the HOPE not hate recording a 102% increase in far-right "migrant-hunter" activity in 2022, compared to 2021.

 HOPE not hate found that activity spiked following Suella Braverman's announcements and use of divisive language:

  • On 2 October 2022, Suella Braverman doubled down on her hard-line policies, vowing to close loopholes such as people claiming asylum under modern slavery rules.There was a 35% rise in messages the following day. 
  • Around 1 November 2022, Braverman used inflammatory language of ‘invasion' and we saw a52% rise in the use of the word ‘invasion' on Telegram after. 
  • At the point at which the ‘Illegal Migration Bill' was introduced and the accompanying video of Braverman repeating the mantra of ‘Stop the Boats',messages spiked from a handful to peaks of between 60-80 per day. 


Patrik Hermansson, Senior Researcher at HOPE not hate said:

"This research is stark proof that the Government is not taking the far-right threat seriously, but actively feeding it through their rhetoric.

The data shows very clearly that with each Government announcement, cracking down on small boat crossings, threatening wave machines and jet skis in the Channel or sending people thousands of miles away to Rwanda, far-right activity spikes every time."


Rosie Carter, Director of Policy at HOPE not hate said:

"The Government are the architects of a broken asylum system, but instead of focussing on fixing it for what people seeking sanctuary and receiving communities need, they have doubled down on a divisive agenda with dangerous consequences. We need to see the Government and media take responsibility and end their cruel and inflammatory approach to immigration.

It is shameless and hypocritical that the Government has said that the ‘values and lifestyles' of small boat refugees are threatening social cohesion when this research provides clear evidence that the Government's ‘stop the boats' campaign is feeding the far right."

Notes to editors: 

  • HOPE not hate is the UK's leading anti-fascist campaign group which monitors and tackles the far-right.  
  • Spokespeople from HOPE not hate are available for further comments and broadcast interviews.  
  • The report can be found on our website.
  • HOPE not hate analysed164 Government statements and announcements, 3468 articles and 660,000 far-right messages on Telegram.


Contact:|@hopenothate|| 0207 952 1183 

HOPE not hate uses research, education and public engagement to challenge mistrust and racism, and helps to build communities that are inclusive, celebrate shared identities and are resilient to hate.