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.”
The AfD was founded in 2013 as a Eurosceptic party in Germany, and has since campaigned for tougher immigration laws. Mr Rees-Mogg has previously denied supporting the party.
Mr Lammy said: “The BBC should not allow this extreme hard-right fascism to flourish.”
He added: “What kind of country are we going to be like if these people are running it?”
When it was put to Mr Lammy that he was saying Mr Rees-Mogg and former foreign secretary Boris Johnson are equivalent to Nazis, Mr Lammy said: “Ask Boris Johnson why he’s hanging out with Steve Bannon.”
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.”