Owen Jones says evidence has emerged 'of political motivations’ behind attack outside London pub

Left-wing journalist describes incident as "premeditated assault" by far-right

Conrad Duncan
Sunday 18 August 2019 13:37
Owen Jones says he has seen 'evidence to suggest political motivations' to attack

Owen Jones has said evidence had emerged which “suggests political motivations” for an attack on him outside a north London pub.

Mr Jones, who is a prominent left-wing author and commentator, said he was attacked and kicked in the head by a group of men in the early hours of Saturday morning in a “blatant premeditated assault”.

On Sunday morning, the writer said evidence had come to light suggesting the incident, which he described as a "far-right" attack, was politically motivated.

Asked by the BBC if the attackers said anything to him, Mr Jones replied: “It is very difficult when you’re suddenly on the floor being kicked in the head...

“I’ve had evidence since, which I can’t discuss… which suggests political motivations.”

Mr Jones previously told The Independent that he was in a group of six people chatting outside The Lexington in Islington when he was attacked by up to four men.

“They kicked me in the back, kicked my head, then my friends got punched for trying to defend me. It was clearly meant for me,” he said.

“Within the context it’s absolutely inconceivable that it was anything other than a far-right attack,” he added.

“Over the last year the amount of death threats, threats from far-right sympathisers [I receive] have just escalated.”

The Metropolitan Police said they could not confirm whether they were investigating the incident as politically motivated.

“Police in Islington are investigating after a man in his thirties reported being assaulted outside a pub in Pentonville Road, N1 at approximately 0200hrs on Saturday, 17 August,” a Met Police spokesperson said.

“He was attacked by up to four males who also assaulted his friends when they attempted to intervene.”

No arrests have been made and a number of witnesses have been spoken to about the incident, police said.

Mr Jones has linked the attack to the “rise of an increasingly violent far-right” in the UK, which he accused politicians and members of the mainstream media of legitimising.

“We should just be honest about it. We live in a society where on the front pages of newspapers you have things like ‘enemies of the people’, ‘traitors’, ‘saboteurs’ – that’s how people are discussed in politics,” he said.

“What that does is fuel and embolden far-right thugs because they feel legitimised by a wider context of the whipping up of hatred against minorities but also against people on the political left, for example, who are seen as traitors.”

Research for the Commission for Countering Extremism, seen by The Independent in July, said far-right protests have been attracting the largest number of supporters since the 1930s.

Mr Jones’ tweets about the attack were met with support from politicians and journalists yesterday.

In a statement on Twitter, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the incident as “an attack on free speech and our fundamental values."

“I send my solidarity to Owen Jones and his friends who were attacked last night," he said.

Katharine Viner, the editor of The Guardian, condemned the “outrageous attack” and added: “Violent assaults on journalists or activists have no place in a democratic society.”

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