Nigel Farage drops claim about Hope not Hate being 'violent' in face of libel threat – Politics live

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including MPs debating and voting on the first day of the EU withdrawal bill’s committee stage

In the Commons Steve Baker, the Brexit minister, is speaking now. Baker is an enthusiast for Brexit, and he is defending the government’s decision to insert the leaving date into the bill.

Ken Clarke, the leader Tory pro-European, says most Eurosceptics who complain about EU legislation are unable to identify EU laws they want to get rid of. Can Baker name one, he asks?

Turning away from the debate for a moment, Hope not Hate, the anti-fascist organisation, has announced that the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage has backed down after it threatened to sue him for libel.

In December last year Farage told LBC that Hope not Hate were people who were “who masquerade as being lovely and peaceful, but actually pursue violent and undemocratic means.” Farage was responding to a question about a Twitter exchange he had with Brendan Cox, whose wife Jo was the Labour MP murdered during the EU referendum campaign by a far-right terrorist. Referring to Cox, Farage said:

Yes, 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 undemocratic means.

Having now considered the position further I am happy to acknowledge that Hope not Hate does not tolerate or pursue violent or undemocratic behaviour.

I am delighted with this victory and that we’ve held Nigel Farage to account.

The case was about the truth and about Hope not Hate saying no to Nigel Farage’s attempts to smear us. For too long right-wing politicians have got away with smearing and abusing their opponents. We drew a line in the sand and ‘no more’.

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