Prominent Labour MP David Lammy has defended comparing some Tory Brexiteers to Nazis.
The high-profile campaigner for a new Brexit referendum hit out at members of the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory MPs who have urged Prime Minister Theresa May to take a tougher stance on EU withdrawal.
Mr Lammy defended his views when asked on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show whether a comparison he previously made between the ERG and the Nazi Party and South African racists was unacceptable.
The Tottenham MP replied: “I would say that that wasn’t strong enough. In 1938 there were allies who hatched a plan for Hitler to annex part of Czechoslovakia, and Churchill said no, and he stood alone.
“We have, in the ERG, in Jacob Rees-Mogg, someone who is happy to put onto his web pages the horrible, racist AfD [Alternative for Germany] party, a party that’s Islamophobic and on the far right.”
Mr Lammy added: “They’re happy to use the phrase ‘grand wizard’. KKK is what it evokes to me when I think of that phrase and the Deep South.
“I’m sorry, but very, very seriously, of course we should not appease that, of course we should not appease that.”
Mr Rees-Mogg, who heads the ERG, Tweeted: “I feel sorry for Mr Lammy, comparing a Parliamentary ginger group with an organisation and creed that killed six million Jewish people makes him look foolish and his comments unbalanced. It damages his reputation.”
To avoid comparisons to the German far right, I recommend spending less time promoting the AfD on here. Also cancel any more dinner plans you have with groups who want to repatriate black Britons. I will never relent from fighting the extremism you both represent and legitismise. https://t.co/VTCOju17q6
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) April 14, 2019
A Board of Deputies spokesperson said: “As we said at the time, Jacob Rees-Mogg was wrong to re-tweet a video promoting the AfD, and David Lammy is right to warn against the emergence of the far-right in modern Europe. However, we would urge politicians against invoking extreme and unhelpful comparisons with the Nazis.”
Earlier in April, Mr Rees-Mogg provoked outrage after he promoted a video of a German far-right party, Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, speaking in parliament.
The AfD are a German anti-immigration party, which supports a ban on religious circumcision and kosher slaughter. They have previously been accused by the Central Council of Jews in Germany of “supporting anti-Jewish hate and Holocaust relativising or even denial.”
Rees-Mogg insisted: “No, I’m not supporting the AfD”, after being criticised for sharing footage of a speech by Alice Weidel, the co-leader speaking in parliament.
“I don’t think retweeting is an endorsement of things that other people stand for. It’s just pointing out that there’s something interesting which is worth watching.”
A Board of Deputies spokesperson criticised him at the time saying: “Jacob Rees-Mogg was wrong to re-tweet a video promoting a German far-right party”, while the CST also criticised him.