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Complaint against Nigel Farage and leave.eu's 'incitement' lodged with police

Ukip leader Nigel Farage announces he is resigning as party leader during a speech at The Emmanuel Centre in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 4, 2016. See PA story POLITICS Ukip. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.
Andrew Woodcock

Campaigners have lodged a complaint with police over alleged incitement to racial and religious hatred by former Ukip leader Nigel Farage and Leave.EU during the referendum.

The complaint, backed by almost 40,000 names on an online petition, was handed in to police in north London on Wednesday and given a crime reference number.

Campaign organiser Zack Newman launched the petition in response to a controversial poster used in the referendum campaign.

It was launched by Mr Farage in the final days of the referendum and depicted a column of migrants walking through the European countryside under the slogan Breaking Point.

The complaint asks police to investigate whether comments made by Mr Farage and others in the Leave.EU camp were "systematically and purposefully designed to incite and stir up fear and intolerance of immigrants in order to procure votes".

Complainants alleged that the spike in hate crime recorded after the June 23 poll was "a direct consequence" of inflammatory rhetoric during the referendum campaign.

They highlighted guidance on the conduct of the referendum issued by the Electoral Commission, which advised participants that it is an offence under the Public Order Act 1968 to publish or distribute material intended or likely to stir up racial hatred.

And they also called for an investigation of whether referendum campaign materials breached the Malicious Communications Act 1988, Crime and Disorder Act 1998, Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 or the Equality Act 2010.

Mr Newman said:"We need to send a clear signal that in all political campaigns and public life, racism and religious intolerance cannot be used to attract support."

A Ukip spokesman said: "If a generation of 'clicktivists' want to wallow in their own outrage, that is their right. Fortunately, fair-minded people will see through their attempts to silence free speech."

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