“Neo-Nazi leader” in court charged with plotting to kill MP

Labour MP Rosie Cooper. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Labour MP Rosie Cooper. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
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The alleged leader of extreme right-wing terror group National Action is due in court charged with plotting to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper.

Christopher Lythgoe, 31, of Warrington, Cheshire, will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Friday accused of the offence and a separate charge of belonging to a banned organisation.

Five other suspects are also charged with being members of National Action, including a 22-year-old man, understood to be Jack Renshaw, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, who is also accused of making threats to kill and intending to commit acts of terrorism contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

The others charged with belonging to a proscribed organisation are Garron Helm, 24, of Seaforth, Merseyside; Matthew Hankinson, 23, of Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside; Andrew Clarke, 33, of Warrington; and Michael Trubini, 35, also of Warrington.

READ MORE: Far-right group Scottish Dawn banned under terror laws

They are also due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this morning.

The suspects were among 11 men arrested by counter-terrorism police in raids across the UK last month.

A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police said: “A group of men have been charged as part of a national investigation into the group National Action.

“On Wednesday September 27, as part of co-ordinated activity, officers from Counter Terrorism Policing North East and North West, supported by Wales Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit and Wiltshire Police, executed a number of warrants and searched properties across England and Wales.”

In a statement, West Lancashire MP Ms Cooper said: “I would like to thank everyone involved in this case, especially the counter-terrorism police, for keeping me, my staff and the public safe.

“There remains an ongoing criminal investigation so it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.”

READ MORE: Who are Scottish Dawn? National Action affiliate profiled

National Action became the first extreme right-wing group to be banned under terrorism laws in December 2016, with two linked organisations, including “Scottish Dawn” also becoming proscribed.

The proscription meant that being a member of or inviting support for the organisation is a criminal offence carrying a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

An entry for National Action in the official list of proscribed groups says it is a “racist neo-Nazi group” which was established in 2013 and has branches across the UK that “conduct provocative street demonstrations and stunts aimed at intimidating local communities”.

The document also links National Action to the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016.

It said the group’s online propaganda material frequently features extremely violent imagery and language, and cited tweets posted in connection with her murder at the hands of right-wing extremist Thomas Mair.