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Arron Banks’ Leave.EU apologises to Labour MP for calling her ‘grooming gang apologist’

Leave.EU's Arron Banks (R) and Andy Wigmore (C). Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images) - Credit: Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Arron Banks’ Leave.EU organisation has been forced to apologise to a Labour MP for calling her a “grooming gang apologist”.

The unofficial Brexit campaign continue to have a high profile on social media, with the advisers behind the campaign more recently turning their attention to New Zealand politics.

But before they turned their attention elsewhere, the organisation were attempting to stir up divisions around the general election.

In one post, days after the election, they made “ill-judged and untrue” remarks when trying to predict who would be the next Labour leader after Jeremy Corbyn.

“Remainers, racists and reprobates galore! Some excellent candidates to be the next leader of the loser Labour Party”, read the post.

And it featured Labour’s Bradford West MP Naz Shah branding her a “grooming gang apologist”.

The group were subsequently sued by Shah, previously a shadow minister for women and equalities and now shadow minister for community cohesion.

An apology following the court case saw Leave.EU pay damages to the politician.

The apology said: “On 16 December 2019 we posted a Facebook post which described Naz Shah MP as a ‘grooming gangs apologist’.

“While the publication had been intended to be satirical; we appreciate that it was ill-judged and untrue.

“We accept that Ms Shah is not an ‘apologist’ for grooming gangs but is a vociferous campaigner for victims of grooming gangs.

“We apologise for the distress caused by it and have paid Ms Shah damages for libel.”