Nigel Farage has criticised the widower of murdered MP Jo Cox, saying that Brendan Cox “would know more about extremists than me” because he supports organisations such as Hope Not Hate.
The argument began when the former Ukip leader tweeted: “Terrible news from Berlin but no surprise. Events like these will be the Merkel legacy.”
Farage was referring to criticisms of the German chancellor for her decision to accept refugees from Syria and elsewhere into Germany, and her support for the Schengen “open borders” area.
Brendan Cox, whose wife Jo was stabbed and shot by a white supremacist in the days before the EU referendum, replied to Farage, saying: “@Nigel_Farage blaming politicians for the actions of extremists? That’s a slippery slope Nigel.”
Farage told LBC radio: “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 very undemocratic means.
“And I’m sorry Mr Cox, it is time people started to take responsibility for what’s happened. Mrs Merkel had directly caused a whole number of social and terrorist problems in Germany, it’s about time we confronted that truth.”
— LBC (@LBC) December 20, 2016
Hope Not Hate are considering legal action over Farage’s comments.
On the day of Jo Cox’s murder, Farage launched an anti-immigration poster depicting a queue of refugees, with the slogan “Breaking Point”. It was criticised by other Leave campaigners such as Douglas Carswell and Michael Gove.
The identity of the attacker who killed at least nine people by driving a truck into a crowded Christmas market has not yet been confirmed.