Anti-racist group Hope Not Hate sues Nigel Farage for libel

Jon Stone
The former Ukip leader made the comments to Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox: PA

Anti-racist group Hope Not Hate is suing Nigel Farage for libel after he alleged that it makes use of “violence” in its campaigning.

Lawyers acting for the group filed a libel claim in the High Court on Friday, asking for damages for “reputational harm and an injunction to restrain Mr Farage from repeating his lies”.

“This case is not about money. It’s about Hope not Hate saying no more to Nigel Farage’s fake news,” Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope Not Hate, said.

“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.

“As the election campaign gets underway, we are putting Nigel Farage and his supporters on notice that we will not tolerate being smeared with the violent tag.”

The group, which is partly a charity, is crowd-funding £100,000 to cover its legal costs. It is seeking between £50,000 and £100,000 in damages.

Mr Farage had alleged that Hope Not Hate “masquerade as being lovely and peaceful, but actually pursue violent and undemocratic means”.

He made the comments in reference to Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox. Mr Farage said Mr Cox “would know more about extremists than me” because he “backs organisations like Hope Not Hate”.

The group says it received a barrage of hate-filled social media messages after Mr Farage made his comments.

The Independent approached a spokesperson for Mr Farage for comment on this story but has not yet received a response.

Mr Farage stepped down as Ukip party leader after the EU referendum but still leads its group of MEPs in the European Parliament. He also presents a radio show on LBC Radio.