A clash between Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and a caller on his LBC radio show over the prospect of the creation of an EU army has sparked an investigation by Ofcom.
The discussion on July 16 quickly became heated when the caller, identified only as Chris, asked: “Is it correct that the UK is perfectly able to block or veto any move towards an EU army? You know very well it is, isn’t it? Yes or no?
Mr Farage replied: “Well, this is very interesting. No, effectively no. N.O! Enhanced co-operation, enhanced co-operation, and so it happens anyway…”
— LBC (@LBC) July 16, 2019
As the pair spoke over each other, Mr Farage asked: “When will you stop lying?”
He added: “Everybody here now wants an EU army. And Chris, significantly, what they also want is to have an EU foreign policy without any member state veto.
“I am saying to you this will destroy Nato, and that, I think, that is very serious.”
The caller then accused the politician, who hosts a regular show on LBC, of telling “a blatant lie”, as Mr Farage insisted: “100%, we cannot veto an EU army.”
Ofcom is investigating if this claim was “materially misleading” and whether due impartiality was preserved.
The watchdog is also investigating another instalment of Mr Farage’s show, which aired on September 2, about whether impartiality was preserved in a discussion about the Conservatives and the Brexit Party and any imminent general election.
An Ofcom spokeswoman said: “We are investigating whether these programmes broke our rules requiring due impartiality, and whether one of the programmes included content that was materially misleading.”
It will also investigate a reference made by James O’Brien on his LBC show on June 18 as to what trading agreements the UK would have in place in a no-deal Brexit scenario.
A spokeswoman said: “We are investigating whether this programme included content that was materially misleading.”
Meanwhile, the watchdog will also investigate various broadcasts on the Chinese international English-language news channel CGTN over its coverage of the protests in Hong Kong to see if they broke impartiality rules.