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Leader of UK neo-Nazi group charged with encouraging murder

Police won’t identify intended victim, but Labour MP Rosie Cooper issues statement thanking officials for keeping her and her staff safe

Illustrative: Armed police officers on duty in London, at the junction of Exhibition Road and Cromwell Road, between the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum, October 7, 2017. (AFP/Tolga Akmen)
Illustrative: Armed police officers on duty in London, at the junction of Exhibition Road and Cromwell Road, between the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum, October 7, 2017. (AFP/Tolga Akmen)

LONDON — The leader of a banned British neo-Nazi group, National Action, was charged Thursday with encouraging murder.

Police did not identify the intended victim, but a lawmaker issued a statement thanking police for keeping her safe.

The Greater Manchester Police force said Christopher Lythgoe, 31, and five other men were charged under the Terrorism Act with belonging to the proscribed organization.

Lythgoe also faces a charge of encouragement to commit murder, and another of the six has been charged with the intention of committing acts of terrorism.

Rosie Cooper MP (Courtesy)

Police released no details of the allegations, but the opposition Labour Party issued a statement from Rosie Cooper, a member of Parliament from northwest England.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in this case, especially the counter-terrorism police, for keeping me, my staff and the public safe,” she said. “There remains an ongoing criminal investigation so it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.”

Last year Labour lawmaker Jo Cox, who had campaigned in support of refugees, was murdered by Thomas Mair, a far-right extremist. National Action praised the killing.

The UK government banned National Action in December, describing it as a “virulently racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic” neo-Nazi group.

The six suspects were among 11 people arrested across the UK on September 27 in a sweep by counterterrorism detectives against suspected right-wing extremists. They are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Friday.

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