- By Heyami Alghatta
Nigel Farage has been threatened with legal action for a “political smear” against an advocacy organisation after a controversial Twitter exchange with murdered MP Jo Cox’s husband regarding the recent HGV attack in Berlin
It has emerged that the former UKIP leader has been contacted by the lawyers of Hope Not Hate after he spoke about the group on LBC Radio following the online row.
The fracas started when Farage suggested that German chancellor, Angela Merkel’s lasting legacy as leader of Germany would only be remembered by the attack that left 12 dead and dozens injured. (Read more…)
Writing on Twitter the pro-Brexit campaigner said: “Terrible news from Berlin but no surprise. Events like these will be the Merkel legacy.”
In what was widely interpreted as a reference to the murder of his member of parliament wife, at the hands of a far-right terrorist during the Brexit referendum campaign, Brendan Cox quickly responded: “Blaming politicians for the actions of extremists? That’s a slippery slope Nigel.”
Farage continued to defended his comments on LBC radio.
“Well of course he would know more about extremists than me, Mr Cox; he backs organisations like Hope Not Hate, who masquerade as being lovely and peaceful but actually pursue violent and very undemocratic means and I’m sorry Mr Cox, it is time people started to take responsibility for what’s happened. Mrs Merkel had directly caused a whole number of social and terrorist problems in Germany, it’s about time we confronted that truth.”
In a statement, Hope Not Hate condemned Farage’s outburst, saying: “Nigel Farage’s allegations against Hope Not Hate on LBC today are a political smear, which is why our lawyers have written to Mr Farage demanding that he retracts and publicly apologises for his remarks, or face further legal action.”
The statement said Hope Not Hate supporters were “united by a common desire to combat racism and to do so using lawful, peaceful means”, the fact that Farage made his remarks during a discussion about the murder of Mrs Cox “makes them all the more poisonous and hateful”.
Cox was shot on June 16th 2016. As the murderer launched his attack he shouted: “This is for Britain”, “keep Britain independent” and “Britain first”.
Brexiters have been accused of stoking hate crime after police figures showed a significant and sharp increase violent hate crimes since the Brexit vote, particularly targeting Muslim women.
On the day of Mrs Cox’s murder, Farage launched a poster showing a long queue of refugees and the slogan: “Breaking point”.
At the time, Farage’s poster was criticised by Remain campaigner and former chancellor George Osborne, who likened it to 1930s fascist propaganda, as well as pro-Brexit campaigner and then justice secretary Michael Gove, who said it made him shudder.
In a tweet sent just minutes after the attack, Eurosceptic MEP Marcus Pretzell described those who had been killed as “Merkel’s dead”.
Talk to a journalist:
Tel: (0044) 020 350 70 351
Web: theinternational.org.uk / IPMGnews.theinternational.org.uk
Twitter: @T_International / @IPMGnews
This story is available on: Apple News, Google News, IPMG News, The International Online.