“We want to see millions deported”: The Extremism of Steve Laws 

Right Response Team - 07 03 24

The “migrant hunter” turned commentator has become increasingly extreme in recent months, and could find himself in deep trouble as a result.

Warning: this article contains extreme and offensive language and imagery

Steve Laws is a far-right activist who shot to prominence in 2020 as one of the leading figures in the “migrant hunter” scene. The so-called “migrant hunters” are a band of individuals, generally unaligned to a specific organisation or group, who film the temporary accommodation sites and/or arrivals of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to generate outrage and revenue on social media.

In a 2021 article, HOPE not hate provided an account of why we consider Steve Laws to be far right. We made this conclusion based upon Laws’ amplification of far-right figures; his constant use of dehumanising language to describe migrants; his belief in the Great Replacement conspiracy theory; and his mirroring of the “counter-jihad” scene when referencing Islam and Muslims.

However, despite already inhabiting a space on the political fringe, such has been the extent of Laws’ extremism in recent months that we believe he has strayed onto terrain that could potentially cause him legal trouble. 

Laws, from Folkestone in Kent, carved out his niche in the “migrant hunter” field early on and would come to be imitated by others in years to come. Setting up around the port of Dover, Laws would film and harass arrivals for his social media videos, framing his filmmaking as an exposé of Britain’s weak borders and ineffectual legislation.

Laws has also flirted intermittently with various elements of the organised radical and far right. This has included: standing for UKIP in the Southend West by-election, becoming a member of the anti-Islam party, For Britain, speaking at the annual conference of the fascist group, Patriotic Alternative (PA), and amplifying content from a range of extreme figures across the UK far right.

Part of a concerted strategy

Over recent months, there has been a severe escalation in Laws’ usual anti-Muslim and anti-migrant bile on social media. 

Laws is an extremely frequent social media user, posting multiple times a day to his many thousands of followers – at the time of writing, he has over 60k on Twitter (see Image 1) and over 6k on Telegram.

Image 1: Laws’ Twitter page, as of 19.02.24. ‘REMIGRATION’ is a euphemism for ‘repatriation’ that emerged from the far-right youth group, Generation Identity (GI)

Laws has been explicit about his approach to social media (Image 2). His ‘provocative’ posts are part of a concerted strategy to bait immigrants and political opponents into responding with hostility. This allows Laws to emphasise his belief in the incompatibility of different cultures; his warped and misanthropic worldview meaning he believes all immigrants also share this perception. The result is that Laws attempts to draw others towards what he considers to be the inevitable conclusion: that people of colour living in Britain must be made to leave one way or another. It should be obvious that such a strategy has the potential for offline disruption, disorder and harm.

Image 2: Laws’ approach is not random, but a strategy

Indeed, this approach aligns with Laws’ accelerationist attitudes more broadly. Inherently a profoundly pessimistic worldview, far-right accelerationists, says HNH’s Patrik Hermansson, tend to believe that ‘society is on the verge of collapse and beyond repair’, that this collapse should be encouraged, and that only out of violent confrontation can a new society be constructed.

By way of example, with recent polls indicating a Labour landslide in the forthcoming General Election, Laws took to Twitter on 14 February 2024 (see Image 3) to articulate a potential Labour victory through the language of accelerationism. Whilst the Conservative Party is viewed by the far right as being weak on immigration, the Labour Party is generally considered to be a disaster, with Starmer’s leadership regularly (mis)characterised as being pro-open borders across the far right. For Laws and other accelerationists, the collapse of the Conservative Party and the rise of Labour is to be embraced, because – in their view – the ensuing national decay will propel the country more rapidly towards a confrontation.

Image 3: Laws has embraced accelerationism

Likewise, on 1 February 2024, Laws posted on X/Twitter: ‘There has been method to the madness with all of my controversial tweets. I wanted to highlight what the foreigners really think of us. Also I wanted to see which of my mutuals […] couldn’t stomach the rhetoric and which would cuck and swiftly unfollow so they wouldn’t appear racist’.

Together these tweets demonstrate Laws’ approach to social media use, one which tries to expedite a culture clash (which Laws considers inevitable), in line with his accelerationist views, to bring about his desire for an ethnically homogenous Britain.

Image 4: more evidence of Laws’ strategic approach to social media

Image 5 demonstrates a secondary, more straightforward approach. Here, the objective is to spread fear amongst Laws’ intended targets. For Laws, the mission is to create the conditions in which non-white people leave Britain, whether forcefully through deportation, or through fearing for their own safety as the result of a climate of hostility.

Image 5: Laws’ social media strategy is also about spreading fear

If such a climate exists, then Laws is unquestionably a serious contributor to it.

The extremism of Steve Laws: the specifics

Following the atrocities committed by Hamas militants on 7 October 2023, the Israeli military launched an invasion of Gaza that is still ongoing at the time of writing. 

Whilst most have been horrified by the images from Gaza, in a since-deleted tweet (Image 6), Laws identified an opportunity to advance his strategy. Image 6 shows an image of many Palestinian men, stripped to their underwear, hands-on-heads in a defensive position, surrounded by armed personnel from the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). With a sickening threat to the people of Birmingham, a diverse city with a large Muslim community, Laws tweeted the image with the line: ‘Bimingham when we win’.

Image 6: since deleted tweet by Laws

The ‘when we win’ refrain is one Laws uses to refer to his ambition for a hardline ethnonationalist government. It is one that he has used a number of times, including in a tweet seen in Image 7. Image 7 is an AI generated picture of a man, seemingly of South Asian heritage, being led towards a plane by security figures. The implication is that the plane represents a deportation flight, and was posted by Laws during a flurry of a racist tweets directed towards Rishi Sunak and Sunder Katwala, the director of British Future, who is of Irish and Indian descent.

Image 7: AI generated image posted by Laws

Fantasising about the use of military force against innocent civilians in Britain is an ongoing occupation for Laws. In a since-deleted post on Telegram in October 2023 (Image 8), Laws posted another AI generated picture of migrants enclosed in something resembling a concentration camp on the British coast, with a mock-up of Pepe the Frog (a meme popularised within the alt-right several years ago) in military garb holding an assault rifle. The accompanying text read: 

‘There is an alternative to using hotels, at least until they get deported anyway. It’s no different than what many are used to doing in France and throughout Europe, so it won’t bother them much. The only difference being they can’t leave and its [sic] under armed guard.’

Image 8: A since-deleted post from Laws on October 4th 2023

With disturbing frequency, Laws posts messages in support of the removal, forced or otherwise, of people of colour from the UK, often choosing to aim this at individuals in replies or quote tweets. In doing so, he directs threatening and menacing messages (such as that seen in Image 9) designed to frighten and alarm.

Image 9: Laws’ has a threatening presence on social media

Laws’ ethnonationalism leads him to post messages such as the one on 22 January 2024 which simply read: ‘Scrap the British Nationality Act 1981’. For Laws, the undermining of the BNA is the necessary precursor to facilitating the mass deportations about which he appears to fantasise.

Image 10: Laws’ rejection of the British Nationality Act 1981

This end point is clearly visible in Image 11, in which Laws says ‘we want to see millions deported’. Alarmingly, in writing ‘I don’t care what we have to do or how we have to do it to get that’, Laws also appears aware of, but entirely numb to, the realities of what such a move would entail. For Laws, the ends of an ethnically homogenous Britain justify the means: the removal (almost certainly forced) of millions of men, women and children from Britain, the separation of families, the breakup of neighbourhoods and the emotional and physical trauma inflicted. This is violent, inhumane politics.

Image 11: the end point of Laws’ ethnonationalism

Conclusion: Action must be taken

The “migrant hunter” turned commentator, Steve Laws, has become increasingly extreme over recent months, and has led a campaign of hate and threats on social media directed at people of colour in the UK.

Laws has been clear about his intentions. His social media use is part of a strategy to foster and then accelerate inter-community conflict, as well as stir up fear among his targets.

The way in which Laws has behaved is not unique, but is indicative of the broader trend under Musk’s ownership of allowing far-right figures to spread hate on the platform with impunity. Musk’s unsophisticated position of “free speech absolutism” means he has willingly turned a blind eye to the likes of Laws as they seek to poison the public conversation.

The beginning of Section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986 regarding ‘Intentional harassment, alarm or distress’ says that someone can be found guilty of breaking the Act if ‘with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he […] uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour’.

From the evidence we have compiled, it is difficult to see how Laws is not in grotesque violation of this Act. If this were to be the case, then it would serve as yet another failure by Twitter to tackle genuinely malevolent actors on its platform.


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