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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Britain First leader suspended from Twitter

Jayda Fransen, who was retweeted by Donald Trump last month, has been temporarily banned from the platform

Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen is congratulated by a supporter wearing a Donald Trump mask as she leaves Belfast Laganside Courts in Northern Ireland. Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen is congratulated by a supporter wearing a Donald Trump mask as she leaves Belfast Laganside Courts in Northern Ireland. Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First who sprung from obscurity last month when US president Donald Trump retweeted three of her posts, was suspended from Twitter on Monday.

Ms Fransen's account on the social media platform, and that of her party and its leader Paul Golding, have been temporarily shut down as part of an effort by Twitter to crack down on hate speech.

Last month, Mr Trump shared with his audience of 44 million followers three tweets from Ms Fransen's account that contained videos that purported to show acts of violence by Muslims, including a murder and an assault.

Following Mr Trump's actions, a major diplomatic row threatened to break out between Britain and the United States, after prime minister Theresa May criticised the president, who in turn responded by criticising Mrs May's record on fighting terrorism.

British politicians of all parties demanded that a state visit by Mr Trump to the UK pencilled in for 2018 be shelved.

In an extraordinary debate in the House of Commons, the US president was described a “fascist” and “stupid”, accused him of “spreading evil” and told that he was “racist, incompetent or unthinking or all three” by British MPs.

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Read more:

Trump fires back at Britain’s May after she tells him it was 'wrong' to re-tweet anti-Muslim videos

Trump Twitter account retweets Britain First anti-Muslim videos

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Ms Fransen, 31, appeared in court in Belfast, Northern Ireland, last week accused of threatening behaviour, a charge for which she has been released on bail. Mr Golding was also arrested and charged.

Despite a membership which is estimated to be between 300 and 400 people, according to the British anti-fascist advocacy group Hope Not Hate, Britain First has a wide digital reach which even before Mr Trump’s intervention had made their strand of anti-Islamic hate speech so pernicious.

It has 1.93 million likes on Facebook.

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