Hungary bars British far-right figure Griffin

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Hungary bars British far-right figure Griffin

Budapest (AFP) - Hungary has declared British far-right figure Nick Griffin a "persona non grata" and barred him from the country, the interior ministry said Friday.

The announcement came two days after Budapest expelled James Dowson, another prominent British far-right activist with links to Griffin.

The decision to bar the 58-year-old Griffin, former leader of the British National Party (BNP), was taken on the advice of Hungary's counter-terror police unit TEK, the ministry said in a statement sent to AFP.

"The British national John Nicholas Griffin is a persona non grata in Hungary who has been... issued with entry and residency bans," it said.

Earlier this year Griffin, who headed the BNP from 1999 to 2014, said he planned to move to Hungary as a "refugee" from western Europe, praising the hardline policies of populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban against asylum-seekers.

Griffin made the comments during a Budapest visit for a "Stop Operation Soros!" conference, aimed at halting the pro-refugee activities of Hungarian-born US financier George Soros's Open Society Foundation.

Former BNP member Dowson had been operating a branch of the anti-immigration group Knights Templar International in the Hungarian capital since 2015.

The 52-year-old was expelled because authorities considered him a "national security threat", according to security sources cited in the Hungarian weekly newspaper Magyar Narancs.

He also set up a news agency in Budapest that he said aimed to help Donald Trump win the US election last year.