- Talk radio station forced to withdraw false Article 50 statement by the former UKIP leader.
- A trailer for Farage’s show was also quietly taken down after staff spotted what they judged to be another false statement.
- LBC colleagues fear Farage could become the “next Hopkins”.
- Former UKIP leader is the subject of separate libel proceedings.
- Farage denies making false claims on air.
LONDON — LBC is facing growing pressure to end its relationship with Nigel Farage after it was forced to retract a series of false and misleading claims he made on air.
The former UKIP leader hosts a regular evening show on the talk radio station but has become an increasing source of controversy after making a series of false and controversial statements.
Last week LBC was forced to issue a “clarification” after Farage falsely quoted a section from Article 50 — the legislation that will guide Britain’s exit from the EU.
The quote, which he held up on a piece of paper, was, in fact, an out-of-context and misleading excerpt from an entirely separate EU briefing about Article 50.
The incident caused a backlash on social media with Farage’s fellow host James O’Brien joining in to retweet a tweet stating “why LBC would [give him a] platform is beyond understanding.”
Farage today defended himself over the incident, telling Business Insider: “What I held up was the official guidance notes on Article 50 given to me by the European Commission.”
“Article 50 are the five points of Article 50 but obviously the legal guidance behind them is is fairly fundamental.”
Farage trailer withdrawn
On the same day LBC issued its clarification, the station also withdrew a trailer for Farage’s show after staff discovered what they judged to be another false claim by Farage, sources tell Business Insider.
A number of sources at the station have told BI that the trailer contained a quote from Farage in which he made an untrue claim about the size of the SNP group at Westminster.
The trailer was quietly taken down by staff without any further retraction. The audio is no longer available and LBC declined to comment.
However, Farage denies that he said anything untrue.
“I do remember this,” he tells BI. “A chap said to me ‘why do you go to Brussels and take the salary?’ and I said ‘why did 48 SNP MPs come to Westminster and take the salary?'”
The SNP have just 35 MPs at Westminster.
Farage insisted that “the SNP point doesn’t stand up at all. Not at all.”
A more serious incident occurred in December last year when Farage made comments about the campaign group Hope Not Hate and Brendan Cox, the husband of the murdered MP, Joe Cox.
Hope not Hate have since filed a libel claim against Farage in April requesting damages for the comments. Thousands of donors have signed up online to help the group take action against him.
A spokesperson for the organisation declined to comment on the ongoing proceedings.
The next Hopkins
The incidents are causing growing disquiet at the station where Farage’s colleagues fear he could cause them lasting reputational damage.
The former London-only radio station, now broadcasting nationally, has become one of the leading players in UK media and regularly conducts high-profile interviews with the prime minister and other leading political figures.
However, one source told BI that Farage now risked “damaging our journalistic brand.”
Despite these concerns, Farage’s colleagues believe LBC are reluctant to lose one of their most well-known hosts.
Management at the station believe that the continuing controversy surrounding Farage is a “price worth paying” for the attention he gathers, one source said.
Others at the station disagree however and are comparing his situation to that of his recently-departed fellow-host Katie Hopkins.
LBC ended its contract with Hopkins following controversy over a tweet in which she called for a “final solution” following the Manchester terror attacks.
Hopkins’ tweet led to a successful social media campaign led by the writer and activist Owen Jones for her to be sacked from LBC.
“The fear is that he is going to be the next Hopkins,” one LBC source told BI.
“If they can force her out, why not Farage?”
A spokesperson for LBC did not respond to a request for comment.