National Action and proscribed organisations explained

Former members of Britain’s first white supremacist terror group are still meeting in secret, despite being banned by the Government, an undercover investigation by ITV News has revealed.

Here we explain what the group is and what it means to be a "proscribed organisation".

  • What is National Action?

National Action became the first extreme right-wing group to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the Home Office in December 2016.

Established in 2013, it set up branches across the UK and disseminated propaganda material via social media. This material often featured violent imagery and language.

The group celebrated the death of MP Jo Cox and it adopted the words of her killer, “death to traitors, freedom for Britain”, as its slogan.

The Home Office describes National Action as a neo-Nazi group and said it promoted and encouraged acts of terrorism after Mrs Cox’s murder.

When it was banned, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “National Action is a racist, antisemitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology. It has absolutely no place in a Britain that works for everyone.”

The Home Secretary took the decision to proscribe National Action prior to the trial of Thomas Mair, who was convicted of Mrs Cox’s murder.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd banned National Action in December. Credit: PA
  • What is a proscribed organisation?

An organisation that the Home Secretary believes is concerned in terrorism can be proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000 if it is proportionate to do so. This means that the organisation commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for terrorism, promotes or encourages terrorism or is otherwise concerned in terrorism.

When deciding if it is proportionate to proscribe an organisation, the Home Secretary will consider several factors, including the nature and scale of its activities, the specific threat it poses to the UK and British nationals overseas and the extent of its presence in the UK.

Being a member of or inviting support for a proscribed organisation is a criminal offence carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

There are 71 international terrorist organisations proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000. Read the full list by clicking here.

National Action is one of 71 proscribed international terrorist organisations.
  • Can organisations have their proscription removed?

Yes, the Home Secretary can consider deproscription on application.

Any person affected by the ban can submit a signed, written application to the Home Secretary requesting she consider removing the organisation from the list. The Home Secretary has 90 days to consider the application.

If the Home Secretary agrees to deproscribe the organisation, she will lay a draft order before Parliament removing it from the list of proscribed groups, which must be agreed to by both Houses of Parliament.

The Peoples’ Mujaheddin of Iran was removed from the list in June 2008 and the International Sikh Youth Federation was removed in March 2016.