Paul Golding inside armoured Land Rover on 'Christian Patrol' to the East London Mosque
Britain First leader Paul Golding embarking on a 'Christian Patrol' to the East London Mosque

Britain First, a far-right group who describe themselves as a "patriotic political movement" made a minor dent in the mainstream following their most recent "invasion" of a mosque.

The group, who launched as a political party in 2011, entered the East London Mosque in Whitechapel to hand out Army issued bibles and Christian leaflets and asked to speak to the Imam.

The "invasion" – which is how Britain First described the incident on their official Facebook page – ended after a community support officer had noticed the group had parked illegally outside the mosque, forcing the members to drive away in their car.

The party staged similar invasions at mosques in Bradford and Scotland during their campaign against Muslim grooming gangs. Metropolitan Police said no arrests have been made in the latest incident.

britain first
The group has more than 300,000 fans on Facebook Britain First

Described by Hope Not Hate as "probably the only group experiencing growth on the far-right", Britain First has attracted attention in 2014 because of the mosque "invasions" and their so-called "Christian Patrols" which they conducted around east London.

Driving around in military jeeps, the groups handed more Christian literature to Muslims round Tower Hamlets and staged protests by drinking alcohol outside mosques.

Despite using Snatch Land Rovers during the patrols and dressing in matching green uniforms, described as "activist jackets" by the party, Britain First denied they intended to intimidate people with their actions.

Jim Dowson, a former fundraiser for the BNP who helped create Britain First, previously told the IB Times UK: "The trucks aren't meant to scare people off, but the reality is there's some very dangerous people in that area, who have foreign combat experience in Syria."

Dowson, described as "the person who owned the BNP" left Nick Griffin's party in 2010 when he started to campaign against the party's leader. He also leads anti-abortion group, the UK Life League.

In 2011, Dowson, along with another former BNP member, Paul Golding, announced the formation of Britain First. The group claim that "hundreds" of BNP members have switched over to Britain First. However, the group claim they want to distance themselves from the party, as well as fellow far-right group the English Defence League (EDL).

Upon declaring the launch of Britain First, the group said they would be the first "professional, patriotic, nationalist campaigning organisation" and promised the party would offer "no nonsense, no stupidity, no compromise, and no rest until we get our country back".

The group said its main objective is to "save this country and our people from the EU, politically correct, multicultural insanity that is now engulfing us".

Golding, former communications officer for the BNP and the party's councillor for Sevenoaks between 2009 and 2011, is the chairman and leader of Britain First and the central figure in the party's patrols and mosque invasions.

Speaking to Andrew Neil on the BBC's Daily Politics show, Golding defended accusations that his party are a vigilante group because of their controversial patrols, saying they are merely a "street defence organisation" who oppose extremists.

Golding added he left the BNP because of "corruption, stagnation, electoral non-performance" and "financial shenanigans".

Having registered as a political group in November 2011, Britain First are now contesting the upcoming local and European elections.

The group received controversy after they used the name of murdered soldier Lee Rigby on the election ballot papers. The electoral commission apologised to Rigby's family for allowing Britain First to use the slogan "Remember Lee Rigby" on voting slips for the upcoming election.

His mother, Lyn Rigby, said she was "heartbroken" that the group had used his name for their own political purposes.