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Hope Not Hate begins legal action against Nigel Farage

24 Apr 2017 News

Nigel Farage

Credit: Gage Skidmore

Anti-fascism charity Hope Not Hate has started legal proceedings against Nigel Farage after he accused the charity of pursuing “violent and undemocratic means”.

Hope Not Hate was supported by over 14,000 people in a crowdfunding appeal after the former UKIP leader refused to apologise for the comments. Hope Not Hate, which is in part a charity, is crowdfunding the cost of the legal fight and hopes to raise £100,000.

Legal documents were filed with the High Court on Friday by Hope Not Hate’s charitable arm, Hope Not Hate Charitable Trust, along with its campaigning wing Hope Not Hate Ltd, with the organisations saying they are seeking between £50,000 and £100,000.

The libel claim is seeking damages for reputational harm, and an injunction to restrain Farage from repeating his comments.

Comments made on radio show

Farage made the comments on the Nick Ferrari At Breakfast programme on LBC following the December terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.

Farage had tweeted: “Terrible news from Berlin but no surprise. Events like these will be the Merkel legacy”.

Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, responded to Farage by tweeting: “@Nigel_Farage blaming politicians for the actions of extremists? That’s a slippery slope Nigel”.

On the 21 December, the following day, Farage was asked about Cox’s tweet on LBC. He responded: “Yes, 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 undemocratic means.”

This story was picked up across the mainstream media, and Hope Not Hate received “a barrage of messages on social media accusing it of extremism, fascism and violence”.

A request to Farage was made by the organisation to retract his statement and apologise, but was ignored. As a result, Hope Not Hate launched the libel action against Farage.

The following month it was announced that Farage would host his own LBC radio show. He announced last week that he would not stand again to be an MP in the former UKIP seat in Clacton in June's General Election, despite saying it would be an "easy win".

‘The case is not about money, it is about telling the truth'

Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope Not Hate, said: “We asked Nigel Farage to retract and apologise for his remarks attributing violence to Hope Not Hate and linking the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox to extremism. We warned him we would sue if he did not. He has not done so. All Nigel Farage had to do was say sorry.

“We know that losing this case won’t hurt Nigel Farage financially. He is a millionaire former City stockbroker with a personal backer worth £100m and a billionaire cheerleader in the White House. This case is not about money for Hope Not Hate, this is about telling the truth.

“Nigel Farage’s fake claims threaten to undermine the reputation of Hope Not Hate and the vital work we do in communities across Britain helping bridge cultural and religious divides, working extensively with local authorities, schools, and the probation and prison services on issues surrounding the tacking of extremism.

“As we are entering a general election, Hope Not Hate is putting Nigel Farage, his supporters and UKIP on notice that we will not tolerate anyone trying to smear us with the violence tag any longer. It is completely false and we will not allow them to peddle this lie to the people of Britain.”

“It’s time to take a stand against liars who bully and shout down those who peacefully disagree with them.”

Lowles also published a blog on the topic here.

UKIP was contacted for comment but had not replied at the time of publication.

 

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