‘No basis in fact!’ Europol boss orders Farage to stop using false ISIS claims for Brexit cause

(L-R) Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and Director of Europol Rob Wainwright © Reuters
Europol chief Rob Wainwright has scolded Brexiteer Nigel Farage for misquoting him for a second time. Making the case for a Brexit, the UKIP leader claimed lax EU migration rules have led to 5,000 jihadist fighters entering Europe.

Wainwright, the British director of the European policing agency, has accused the UKIP leader of “a very serious, even alarmist, conflation of migration and terrorism.”

His criticism comes after Farage used Tuesday’s ITV debate on the upcoming referendum to say: “[The Europol chief] said that the migrant policy – and by the way these are not refugees, they are mostly economic – over the last year, sparked by Angela Merkel last year, led to up to 5,000 jihadis coming to the European Union in the space of the last 15 months.”

In a statement, Wainwright, who has repeatedly urged against withdrawing from the EU, sharply rebuked Farage for misquoting him and said the figure was actually much lower.

“I suspect less than one third have [entered the EU] and of those the largest proportion are unlikely to pose a terrorist threat,” he said.

“There is no basis in fact, not even false media reporting, for this point.”

Wainwright suggested Farage was relying on a falsified quote published in a German newspaper that had been discredited in February.

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“I never gave the interview so it is a fake source. Europol complained to the paper and asked it to correct the false information, which it promptly did in the online version,” he said.

This is not the first time Farage has repeated the claim, nor is it the first time that Wainwright has publicly corrected the UKIP leader.

“I am disappointed, therefore, that he continues to quote me in this way,” Wainwright added.

A UKIP spokesperson admitted the 5,000 fighter figure is a “misinterpretation” and that Farage would be advised not to use the figure in the future.

Wainwright has previously argued that leaving the 28-member bloc would be “a serious miscalculation.” The security chief said cooperation between European police forces and intelligence agencies strengthens Britain’s ability to fight terrorism.