Nigel Farage sued for libel by anti-hate charity
Defamation proceedings have been issued in the High Court against former UKIP leader Nigel Farage after he accused the charity Hope not Hate of being ‘violent and undemocratic’. The allegation was made on 20 December 2016 on LBC radio’s breakfast show.
Mr Farage made the allegation after being questioned by LBC breakfast host, Nick Ferrari about a Twitter exchange the previous day between himself and Brendan Cox the widower of Jo Cox MP. On 19 December 2017, after the news broke about the Berlin Christmas market attack in which 12 people died and 56 were injured, Mr Farage had tweeted “Terrible news from Berlin but no surprise. Events like these will be the Merkel legacy.” Mr Cox responded “blaming politicians for the actions of extremists? That’s a slippery slope Nigel.” During the LBC interview, Mr Farage said that he [Brendan Cox] would ‘know more about extremists than me […] he backs organisations like Hope not Hate, who masquerade as being lovely and peaceful, but actually pursue violent and undemocratic means.”
Hope not Hate is a political action charity whose stated aim is to eradicate hate and extremism within UK communities. It claims to challenge political parties that promote fascism and racist intolerance through research and public education.
LBC's Breakfast Show has an audience of one million listeners. Many mainstream media outlets including The Independent, The Guardian, The Evening Standard and The Mirror reported the allegations made by Mr Farage during the LBC interview. Hope Not Hate claim to have received a wave of negative comments across all their social media platforms with many apparently accusing the charity of extremism, fascism and racism.
Hope Not Hate demanded both a retraction and apology from Mr Farage, neither of which were forthcoming. The charity launched an appeal requesting donations from the public to fund the defamation proceedings. In a statement, the charity said they had been overwhelmed with the response, confirming that thousands of people had donated to their appeal within a matter of days.
On 21 April 2017 Gallant Maxwell Solicitors issued a libel claim in the High Court on behalf of the charity. Damages of up to £100,000 are sought for reputational harm together with an injunction to prevent Mr Farage from repeating the remarks.
The charity said that the claim was not about money, but about the ‘politics of hope and hate’ and putting Mr Farage and his supporters on notice that the charity will not tolerate politicians who spread ‘fake news’.
Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.