Anne Marie Waters
Anne Marie Waters
Anne Marie Waters in June 2016
|Leader of For Britain|
|Assumed office |
|Preceded by||Office created|
Anne Marie Dorothy Waters
24 August 1977
|Political party||For Britain (2017–present)|
|Labour Party (2010–2014)|
|Alma mater||Nottingham Trent University|
Anne Marie Waters (born 24 August 1977) is a far-right politician in the United Kingdom. She is the founder and leader of the anti-Islam party For Britain. She is also the director of Sharia Watch UK, an organisation launched in April 2014. In January 2016, Waters launched Pegida UK in conjunction with activist Tommy Robinson and far-right politician Paul Weston.
Having unsuccessfully attempted to become a Labour Party parliamentary candidate, Waters joined the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and stood in its 2017 leadership election. She came second, with Henry Bolton winning. She subsequently left UKIP to form her own party, "For Britain", in October 2017.
Waters was born and raised in Dublin in Ireland, and went to school in Stoneybatter on the Northside of the city. She became an au pair in Germany during her teens. After living in the Netherlands, she studied journalism at Nottingham Trent University in England, graduating in 2003, and gained a law degree in London while working as a secretary in the NHS. She also belonged to One Law for All, a pressure group that opposed the spread of sharia courts. Waters is a lesbian in a civil partnership, and, despite being Irish, has described herself as "passionately, loyally, resolutely and proudly British".
Waters unsuccessfully stood for the Labour Party in the 2010 Lambeth London Borough Council election for Streatham Hill ward. She made two unsuccessful attempts to be selected as a Labour parliamentary candidate: she first sought selection in South Swindon, then in 2013 she was one of two people shortlisted to stand for Labour in Brighton Pavilion.
After leaving the Labour Party, Waters contested the Clapham Common ward for UKIP in the 2014 Lambeth Council election, where she finished in last place. At the 2015 general election, she stood as the UKIP candidate in Lewisham East, finishing in third place with 9.1% of the vote. During the campaign, she called for mass deportations, mosque closures and an end to immigration from majority-Muslim countries. She was initially chosen to stand as a UKIP candidate in the 2016 London Assembly election, but was deselected when her role in Pegida UK was announced. She stood for UKIP in the 2017 Essex County Council election, finishing in eighth place. Waters was selected to be the UKIP candidate for Lewisham East again in the 2017 general election, but was removed after party leader Paul Nuttall described her views as "way above and beyond party policy".
Following Nuttall's resignation as party leader, Waters announced her intention to stand in the 2017 UKIP leadership election. She planned to launch her campaign in Rotherham, leading to concerns among local UKIP branch members that the choice to hold it there was political opportunism. Rotherham football club cancelled her planned stadium rally and her launch took place instead at Dalton parish hall. UKIP's Rotherham branch released a statement calling for members to boycott the campaign launch with the backing of MEP Jane Collins after their concerns were ignored by Waters's team. UKIP's National Executive Committee urged members to "think very carefully" before participating in her campaign launch. In early July, over a thousand new members had joined the party in two weeks, leading to accusations of far-right infiltration in support of Waters. Jack Buckby, a former member of the British National Party and Liberty GB, described himself as "basically [her] campaign manager". Waters predicted several times she would have difficulties in being allowed to stand, but on 11 August she passed UKIP's vetting procedure and was allowed to stand as a leadership candidate. Waters said she would not be opposed to Tommy Robinson joining UKIP, and eighteen of the party's twenty MEPs vowed to leave if she won the leadership. On 29 September 2017, it was announced that Henry Bolton had been elected leader, who had said the party risked becoming the "UK Nazi party" if it chose the wrong candidate, which was perceived as a criticism of Waters. Waters came second with 2,755 votes, a 21.3% share. She described the result as a victory of jihad against truth.
Waters later left UKIP to establish a new far-right political party called For Britain. Waters stood as a For Britain candidate in the Lewisham East by-election on 14 June 2018. She lost her deposit and finished in seventh place with 1.2% of the vote. The Electoral Commission records that the For Britain Movement was registered by Anna Maria Waters (not Anne Marie Waters) et al.
Waters has been criticised for her association with far-right politicians and organisations and has praised Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen. The Huffington Post has pointed to her membership of the senior management of the anti-Islam group Pegida UK alongside Tommy Robinson, former leader of the English Defence League and Paul Weston, at the time leader of the ultranationalist Liberty GB.
In an ITV documentary broadcast in November 2017, called "Undercover: Inside Britain's New Far Right", it was revealed that a UKIP member who regularly attended Waters’ events was also a member of white-nationalist group Generation Identity. Waters has since said that he was not a close associate and would not be welcome at future events. However, in 2019, she spoke at a Generation Identity conference, and claimed in her speech that mass immigration was being used to remove political power from white people. The documentary filmed Waters advocating the reduction of Muslim birthrates, stopping Muslim immigration and accusing the EU of conspiring to turn Europe into an Islamic state. She later told ITV she opposed "racism, antisemitism, misogyny and the oppression usually associated with the far right".
Waters says she has been an LGBT activist since her days at university, and she considers herself to be a feminist. Waters is also an agnostic, and between November 2011 and June 2014 she was listed as a director of the National Secular Society.
She is the author of Beyond Terror: Islam's Slow Erosion of Western Democracy (2018).
UK Parliament elections
|2015 general election||Lewisham East||UK Independence Party||3,886||9.1|
|2018 by-election||Lewisham East||The For Britain Movement||266||1.2|
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