- Nigel Farage withdraws his false claim that Hope not Hate is “violent and undemocratic.”
- Former UKIP leader made the false claim on LBC last year.
- Farage files statement with High Court acknowledging he was wrong.
- Farage declines to comment on the case.
LONDON – Nigel Farage has formally withdrawn his false claim that a leading anti-racist charity was “violent and undemocratic,” in a major victory for the group.
The former UKIP leader faced a libel claim from the group after he used an appearance on LBC to accuse it of being “extremists,” who “masquerade as being lovely and peaceful, but actually pursue violent and undemocratic means.”
In a statement filed with the High Court, Farage said:
“Having now considered the position further I am happy to acknowledge that Hope not Hate does not tolerate or pursue violent or undemocratic behaviour.”
A spokesperson for Hope not Hate said Farage has also agreed that he will not repeat this claim or allow anyone else to do so on his behalf.
Farage declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.
The case centred on Farage’s response to a tweet by the husband of the murdered MP Jo Cox, who criticised Farage for linking refugees with terror.
Farage had tweeted in response to the 2016 Christmas market attack on Berlin: “Terrible news from Berlin but no surprise. Events like these will be the Merkel legacy”.
Brendan Cox replied: “@Nigel_Farage blaming politicians for the actions of extremists? That’s a slippery slope Nigel”.
blaming politicians for the actions of extremists? That's a slippery slope Nigel
— Brendan Cox (@MrBrendanCox) December 20, 2016
The following day Farage was asked about Cox’s tweet on LBC and responded: “Yes, well of course he would know more about extremists than me, Cox. He backs organisations like HOPE not hate, who masquerade as being lovely and peaceful, but actually pursue violent and undemocratic means.”
He subsequently refused to apologise or withdraw the claim and was then sued by Hope not Hate.
“I am delighted with this victory and that we’ve held Nigel Farage to account,” Hope not hate Chief executive Nick Lowles,” said.
“The case was about the truth and about Hope not hate saying no to Nigel Farage’s attempts to smear us. For too long right-wing politicians have got away with smearing and abusing their opponents. We drew a line in the sand and ‘no more’.
“We are an avowedly peaceful organisation and Farage’s false claims were deeply damaging to the vital work we do bringing communities together across cultural and religious divides.
“Anyone else repeating these smears our pursuing a false news agenda against our organisation should be put on note that we won’t hesitate to take further action to protect our reputation. We also hope this case sends a wider signal to right-wing politicians that smearing people will no longer be accepted.”