Alex Davies: The former politics student who founded Britain’s first neo-Nazi terrorist group

Alex Davies was an 18-year-old student about to embark on his first year at university when he started National Action.

In three years, it would become the first neo-Nazi terrorist group ever banned in the UK, after followers stockpiled weapons, built a pipe bomb and even plotted to murder an MP.

Davies told his trial at Winchester Crown Court that fomenting a race war was not his intention, but declared himself a national socialist and said he wanted to create a “nationalist Britain, which would be a white Britain”.

He claimed that young neo-Nazis like himself were “politically homeless” after the British National Party – which he previously joined – “imploded” with infighting.

“I was too young to form a political party, so when thinking about what I could do that was realistic in terms of achieving and building something, I thought maybe I could build something for other young people,” he told the jury.

Davies said the “embryo of the idea” had started while he was doing his A-levels in 2012, during a period where he was an activist for his local Ukip branch in Swansea.

He had been involved in what he labeled “nationalist politics” since the age of 16 but seemed to find it difficult to settle in any of the pre-existing groups he hopped around as a teenager.

National Action launched formally when its website went live in August 2013, after Davies enlisted the help of Ben Raymond – a neo-Nazi who ran a website advocating the ideas of British Union of Fascists leader Oswald Mosley.

He was about to turn 19, and following better-than-expected A-level results was heading to the prestigious University of Warwick to study a politics degree.

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But Davies said he dedicated “too much time” to National Action during his first year, and then dropped out after a newspaper infiltrated the group and exposed his role.

“The publicity had the effect of triggering a demonstration on campus calling for my expulsion and effectively I jumped before I was pushed,” he told the court.

A graphic made by National Action members before the group’s 2016 ban, showing Alex Davies labeled as ‘the Founder’


National Action quickly grabbed media headlines for provocative street demonstrations, where members clad in black clothing and face masks performed Hitler salutes and gave racist speeches through megaphones.

It targeted ethnically diverse areas and university campuses with stickering campaigns and spread online propaganda, while holding combat training sessions and forging links with neo-Nazi groups in the US and Europe.

Despite admitting being the founder of National Action, Davies is the last of 19 people to be successfully prosecuted for membership.

He had been more careful than some of his fellow neo-Nazis to mask his activity following the ban in December 2016, which made the group’s activities a criminal offence.

Davies was confident in his understanding of proscription laws, and set up a new group under the name NS131 – standing for National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action – to further his aims.

He said he was “finding it difficult to find steady employment” at the time, while trying part-time work in call centers and sales, and even being paid by his US-based girlfriend to do work for her cosmetics company.

Davies continued recruiting young neo-Nazis to his cause, making propaganda and meeting former members of National Action.

He ran training days where young men practiced boxing and knife fighting, while wearing fatigues and posing performing Hitler salutes.

In early 2017, Davies photographed graffiti reading: “Ban us – so what?”

But in September that year, NS131 itself was banned as an alias of National Action and he was arrested.

Police did not initially have enough evidence to prosecute Davies for an offense and it took almost four more years for him to be charged – following an avalanche of digital evidence from other trials.

Davies denied continued membership of National Action after the 2016 ban, which he said he could “understand” given the “trajectory” some members were on towards violence.

But he characterized the move to outlaw NS131 in September 2017 as “political repression”.

“NS131 was not concerned in terrorism and it’s an overstep of government policy,” he told the court.

“The government was acting in a way that’s unjust and using legislation in a way it should not be used.”

A photo of graffiti found on Alex Davies’ phone in 2017


Davies cut a largely unapologetic figure during his trial, having combative debates with a prosecutor while being questioned about his opinions on Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust.

“Neo-Nazism is not on trial here, what is on trial is whether I remained a member after the ban,” he said.

“I don’t know how many times I can point this out, my views are not on trial here.”

The judge said his views could be considered by the jury when deciding whether he continued to be a member of National Action after the ban, and if NS131 was really a “clean break” despite being founded by the same person, holding the same opinions, meeting with the same people as before.

Superintendent Anthony Tagg, of the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, said Davies “thought he was clever”.

“We’ve been able to show evidence that he continued to operate as National Action, just under a different name,” he told The Independent.

“What he was doing, the people he was associating with, and the activities he was undertaking were absolutely the same.”

Supt Tagg said the investigation into Davies had been “incredibly complex”, seeing officers consider 45 million files from different people’s electronic devices to piece together his activity.

“The successful prosecution of Davies has successfully disrupted and dismantled National Action,” he added.

“Davies clearly thought he was a clever individual, and that by renaming and rebranding National Action as NS131 he would be able to continue his activities. What we’ve shown is that’s not possible, that we will find them and bring them to justice for what they’re trying to do.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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