There was a walkout earlier today of political journalists following an attempt by Lee Cain, a communications adviser for Boris Johnson, to restrict some media outlets which the Prime Minister hadn’t wanted to attend. When journalists from i, the Daily Mirror, the HuffPost, PoliticsHome and the Independent were blocked from attending, all other journalists also walked out.
Tracy Brabin, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, raised a point of order in the House of Commons, saying:
“This afternoon, accredited lobby journalists based here in the House of Commons were denied access to an important briefing with David Frost, the Prime Minister’s Europe adviser on post-Brexit trade plans. David Frost is a civil servant and therefore his briefing on the most prominent issue of the day is supposed to be neutral and not political. The issue of post-Brexit trade plans is one of great public concern, and access to a high-level briefing should not be hand-picked by Government and political advisers. The exclusion of some publications led to every major national broadcaster and newspaper walking out.”
Nigel Farage, the former leader of UKIP, has been criticised following his attack on Brendan Cox, the widower of Jo Cox who was assassinated by a political extremist.
Farage had posted on Twitter a comment blaming Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, saying that the Berlin terrorist attack would be “the Merkel legacy”. Cox responded with a tweet saying:
“Nigel Farage – blaming politicians for the actions of extremists? That’s a slippery slope Nigel”.
Farage then said on LBC radio when asked about the comments:
“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”.
A number of MPs have responded on Twitter condemning Farage’s comments.
Hope Not Hate have issued a statement in response to the comments made by Farage:
“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.
We will not be making any further comment until we have had the opportunity to consult with our lawyers”.