‘I felt such dread. It’s an awful thing to be accused of’: Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes says he’s a victim of Left-wing ‘vendetta’ as he faces police probe over ‘damn blacks’ phrase David Starkey used on the political pundit’s YouTube channel
- Darren Grimes said on Saturday that he was the victim of a Left-wing ‘vendetta’
- He faces police probe inciting racial hatred after an interview with David Starkey
- During the interview, historian David Starkey said that ‘slavery was not genocide’
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Darren Grimes said on Saturday night he was the victim of a Left-wing ‘vendetta’ and that the police case against him would have a ‘chilling effect’ on free speech.
The Brexit campaigner and political pundit told The Mail on Sunday that detectives were pursuing ‘vexatious complaints’ by political rivals trying to shut down his YouTube channel.
He said: ‘The whole thing is insane. You can’t hold journalists and broadcasters accountable for something their interviewee or guests say.’
Grimes, 27, is under investigation for inciting racial hatred after he published a video interview with David Starkey in June, during which the historian said slavery was not genocide because ‘there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain, would there?’
Darren Grimes (above) told The Mail on Sunday that detectives were pursuing ‘vexatious complaints’ by political rivals trying to shut down his YouTube channel
The incendiary comments caused fury, with Dr Starkey resigning from his fellowship at Cambridge University. He also lost two book deals.
Mr Grimes apologised for not robustly challenging Dr Starkey at the time and thought that was the end of the matter.
So when an email arrived from a detective constable requesting that he come in for an interview at a police station, Mr Grimes’s first thought was that he was the victim of a practical joke.
He said: ‘I went to my nearest police station in London and spoke to the officer behind the desk. I said, “I think I’m being pranked” and showed her the email. She asked my name and then she looked up and asked, “Are you a broadcaster?” She said it was all real. I just couldn’t believe it.’
Mr Grimes emailed the officer back asking what he was being accused of, and was informed his video had breached Section 22 of the Public Order Act 1986.
The officer explained the law covers programmes which ‘stir up racial hatred’.
The detective wrote: ‘It is believed that your interview with Mr Starkey has met the threshold for this offence.’
Mr Grimes said: ‘I just felt this enormous sense of dread. It’s such a horrible thing to be accused of. My first reaction was thinking about the headlines “Grimes incites racial hatred” and my poor mother 300 miles away in County Durham having to read it.’
Grimes, 27, is under investigation for inciting racial hatred after he published a video interview with David Starkey (above) in June, during which the historian said slavery was not genocide
The case comes five months after the Met Police dropped an investigation into allegations that Mr Grimes had broken electoral laws during the EU referendum campaign.
The official Vote Leave campaign funnelled £675,000 via Mr Grimes’s BeLeave pro-Brexit youth group in the days before the referendum in 2016, which helped ensure it did not breach the £7 million spending limit.
Police spent almost two years investigating the case before dropping it in May.
Mr Grimes said: ‘It does seem like there is a crosshair on my head and someone has a vendetta. This could be hanging over me for months or even years.’
He was sure the complaint was politically motivated, adding: ‘It is because it is Darren Grimes and David Starkey – two Right-wing b*******. They think they can kill two birds with one stone.’
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Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes says he’s a victim of Left-wing ‘vendetta’