Outrage as Farage links Jo Cox widower to 'extremists'
Nigel Farage has sparked outrage among Labour politicians after linking the widower of murdered MP Jo Cox to "extremists".
The former UKIP leader criticised Brendan Cox after he questioned the politician's claim that the Berlin lorry attack was "Merkel's legacy".
Mr Cox said "blaming politicians for the actions of extremists" was a "slippery slope".
Mrs Cox was killed by neo-Nazi Thomas Mair days before June's EU referendum.
Hours after the Twitter exchange between the two, Mr Farage went on LBC radio and said: "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."
The comments prompted angry replies from Mrs Cox's former colleagues in Westminster.
MP Tracy Brabin, who replaced Mrs Cox in her Batley and Spen constituency, said: "Beggars belief... A new low for Farage."
Chris Bryant, the Rhondda MP and former shadow Commons leader, said: "The sheer nastiness of Farage sometimes takes my breath away."
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins added: "When your entire career has been built on hate, not hope, it perhaps shouldn't shock me, but Farage still sinks lower than I'd have believed."
Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley, wrote on Twitter: "I hope Farage never ever feels the pain we feel about Jo, because unlike him I am not a monster."
Mr Farage had taken to social media on Tuesday morning in the wake of the Berlin attack, which left at least 12 dead at a Christmas market, saying: "Terrible news from Berlin but no surprise. Events like these will be the Merkel legacy."
The comment prompted hundreds of retweets and replies, including from Mr Cox, whose Labour MP wife was shot and stabbed days before June's EU referendum.
Mr Farage also told LBC: "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."
The German Chancellor has hardened her policy towards refugees and migrants in recent weeks. In a speech she suggested stemming the number entering Germany and restricting the use of face veils.
Germany admitted almost 900,000 migrants in 2015 after deciding to allow in those who had made it to Hungary.
Following Mr Farage's comments the campaign group Hope Not Hate said it had asked the former UKIP leader to apologise or face legal action.
In a statement, the group said: "We are aware of a serious and potentially libellous statement made about Hope Not Hate by Nigel Farage on LBC radio this morning.
"We have no idea on what Mr Farage bases his outrageous comments. Hope Not Hate has a proud history of campaigning against extremism and hatred.
It added: "That Nigel Farage made his remarks in the context of a discussion about Jo Cox, who was so brutally murdered earlier this year, makes them all the more poisonous and hateful."
Brendan Cox later tweeted: "Haters gonna(sic) hate" with a link to the Taylor Swift song that references the line.
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