Ex-Ukip leader faces legal action after linking tragic Jo Cox’s widower to extremists while accusing Hope Not Hate of ‘violence’
ANTI-RACIST group Hope Not Hate threatened former Ukip leader Nigel Farage with legal action yesterday for linking the group to extremism.
The campaign organisation has launched a “help us take Nigel Farage to court” crowdfunder after Mr Farage shamefully accused it of being violent while linking murdered MP Jo Cox’s widowed husband Brendan — who supports the group — with extremists in an interview with LBC radio.
His comments came after Mr Cox urged caution in blaming politicians for terrorists’ acts following the Berlin attacks which left 12 people dead and 50 injured after a lorry ploughed into shoppers at a Christmas market.
Mr Cox was responding to a tweet in which the Donald Trump ally claimed moments after the tragedy that the blame for the attack lay with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policy.
Mr Cox, whose wife Jo was brutally murdered by fascist extremist Thomas Mair, warned Mr Farage against “blaming politicians for the actions of extremists” and that doing so was a “slippery slope.”
But in the radio interview Mr Farage responded: “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.
“I’m sorry Mr Cox, it is time people started to take responsibility for what’s happened. Ms Merkel had directly caused a whole number of social and terrorist problems in Germany, it’s about time we confronted that truth.”
Hope Not Hate director Nick Lowles confirmed that the group’s lawyer had sent a letter to Mr Farage demanding he retract the allegations and issue a public apology following the “political smear” or the group will begin legal proceedings against him.
It said: “Hope Not Hate is a well-respected, civil society organisation whose more than 200,000 supporters come from all political persuasions. They are united by a common desire to combat racism and to do so using lawful, peaceful means.
“That Nigel Farage made his remarks in the context of a discussion about Jo Cox, who was so brutally murdered earlier this year, makes them all the more poisonous and hateful.
“As is well known, Hope Not Hate was one of three entities chosen by Jo’s widow, Brendan Cox, as the recipient of donations from the public who wished to show their solidarity with the family.”
Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin MP, who won the by-election following the murder of Ms Cox, said the comment “beggars belief … A new low for Farage.”
Ukip supporters expressed sympathy for the German people on the party’s official Facebook page but claimed: “They had brought it on themselves,” with one wishing success for right-wing nationalist party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in the German elections.
But former footballer Gary Lineker branded Mr Farage’s comments “disgusting,” while Labour MP Jess Phillips condemned him as “a lying racist in a cheap suit of authenticity.”
Labour MP for Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said: “When your entire career has been built on hate, not hope, it perhaps shouldn’t shock me, but Farage still sinks lower than I’d have believed.”
Giles Coren tweeted: “I’ve never been especially bothered by Farage but this is a Hitlerian sycophant burrowing so far up Trump’s arse only his feet are showing.”
Mr Farage had not responded to the Star’s request for comment at time of going to print.