Hope Not Hate sues Nigel Farage for libel

Anti-fascist charity sues former Ukip leader after he called the group 'violent and very undemocratic'

(Image credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Anti-fascist campaigners Hope Not Hate has taken legal action against former Ukip leader Nigel Farage after he accused the group of "pursuing violent and very undemocratic means".

Lawyers working with the advocacy group have filed a libel claim in the High Court seeking damages of up to £100,000 for what the group describes as "reputational harm and an injunction to restrain Mr Farage from repeating his lies".

Farage made the comments on the Nick Ferrari at Breakfast programme on LBC radio in December 2016, a day after a terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.

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Farage had tweeted that the attack, which left 12 people dead and 48 injured, was "no surprise", and that such attacks would be German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s "legacy".

After criticism for his comments surfaced on Twitter from Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, Farage claimed to Ferrari that "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."

On 20 December, Hope Not Hate demanded a retraction and a formal apology from Farage, threatening legal action if their demands were not met.

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After instigating legal proceedings on Friday, Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope Not Hate, said: "This case is not about money. It’s about Hope not Hate saying no more to Nigel Farage’s fake news.

"We are an avowedly peaceful organisation and Nigel Farage’s lies are deeply damaging to the vital work we do bringing communities together across cultural and religious divides.

"We will not allow them to peddle this lie to the people of Britain."

The lawsuit was financed by more than 14,000 supporters through a crowdfunding campaign, and was timed in conjunction with Hope Not Hate's campaign "to stop Farage and his rightwing support base from making such statements in the runup to the general election", writes The Guardian.

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