UKIP MEP defends speech to pro-apartheid club with links to far right
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A Ukip MEP has defended his decision to deliver a speech on 'the murders of white farmers in South Africa' to a pro-apartheid group with links to the far right.
East of England MEP Stuart Agnew was invited by the Springbok Club, a group of expats from South Africa and the former Rhodesia, to give a speech as guest speaker at one of its meetings on April 6.
But he said he has been condemned by the media for accepting the invitation after the club's links with the far right, including alleged links to the murderer of Labour MP Jo Cox, came to light.
Mr Agnew said he had been invited by the club to speak about a recent trip to South Africa with the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), in which he found 'gratuitous and brutal violence of completely innocent people'.
He added: 'Farmers are being murdered and treated poorly because they are white farmers.'
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He was also asked to speak about his time working for the Ministry of Agriculture in the former Rhodesia – today Zimbabwe – from 1975 to 1976.
A look through the Springbok Club's website reveals its links to Alan Harvey, a former National Front member who has delivered a number of speeches at the club's meetings in Norfolk, at flag-raising ceremonies in Southrepps.
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In some of those speeches, Mr Harvey expressed his view that Zimbabwe is 'crying out for a re-establishment of British control', and that young Britons of today 'will be re-colonising that beleaguered land in the decades ahead'.
In another speech he had given at the club's launch of the London branch, he said: 'We want our countries back, and believe this can now only come about by the re-establishment of civilised European rule throughout the African continent.'
It has also been suggested that Thomas Mair, the far-right terrorist who had shot and stabbed Jo Cox in 2016, was a subscriber of the club's magazine, the S.A. Patriot.
A section on the club's website, entitled 'Terrorist Watch!', includes a number of articles branding Nelson Mandela a terrorist and communist.
When asked whether he knew about the club's far-right leanings, Mr Agnew said: 'I didn't investigate them. 'I wanted to get the message out, that's the important part. Maybe this is one way of doing it? If the media is going to condemn me, and that's a way for me to get this out there, then that's something that is helpful.
'It was not to promote anybody in that club. It was to let them know what was happening in South Africa.'