The Board of Deputies has warned politicians to steer clear of Nazi comparisons after former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown compared Conservative supporters of Brexit to Hitler’s paramilitaries.

In a tweet, Lord Ashdown said “the Tory Brexit brownshirts are stirring,” alluding to the party’s upcoming conference, and later downplayed the remarks, saying critics were over-reacting to what he termed “brownshirt-gate”.

In response to complaints about his language, which one Tory MP said was “disgusting,” Ashdown wrote: “Even allowing for these over-heated times, do we really have to lose contact with the concept of the metaphor?”ashdown

However a spokesperson for the Board of Deputies was not amused, saying: “We call on politicians to exercise extreme caution before making Nazi and Holocaust comparisons.”

It comes after Labour’s own inquiry into anti-Semitism in the Left recommended that “Labour members resist the use of Hitler, Nazi and Holocaust metaphors, distortions and comparisons in debates about Israel-Palestine in particula