THE alleged leader of right-wing terror group National Action has made his first crown court appearance at the Old Bailey accused of giving the green light for the machete murder of Labour MP Rosie Cooper.

Christopher Lythgoe, of Greymist Avenue, Woolston, is charged with granting a fellow member of the banned group permission to carry out the attack last year.

A 22-year-old man, from Lancashire, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is charged with intending to commit acts of terrorism contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

The charge states that he bought a 'Gladius Machete' for the purpose of murdering West Lancashire MP Ms Cooper between June 5 and July 3.

He is also accused of making threats to kill a female police officer on July 1.

Lythgoe, 31, is charged with encouraging the 22-year-old to commit murder and both men are also charged with being members of National Action.

They appeared alongside four other alleged members of the banned group including Matthew Hankinson, 23, from Newton-le-Willows, and Andrew Clarke, 33, of Marsh House Lane, Paddington.

The suspects are accused of continuing to be members of National Action after the group was banned under UK law on December 16, 2016, until their arrest on September 27, 2017.

National Action became the first extreme right-wing group to be banned under terrorism laws in December 2016.

The court order means that being a member of or inviting support for the organisation is a criminal offence carrying a sentence of up to 10 years' imprisonment.

No pleas were entered during the hearing but a trial date has been earmarked for June 11 at the Old Bailey.