Boris Johnson, the former Mayor of London, has been criticised by members across political parties and by German politicians following his comments about Hitler and the EU.
Johnson had written in the Telegraph that:
“Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods”.
Yvette Cooper, the Labour leadership contender last year, said:
“The more he flails around with this kind of hysterical claim, the more he exposes his shameful lack of judgement, his willingness to play the most divisive cynical politics, and the emptiness of his arguments”.
Hilary Benn, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, said:
“After the horror of the Second World War, the EU helped to bring an end to centuries of conflict in Europe and for Boris Johnson to make this comparison is both offensive and desperate”.
Jürgen Hardt, the Foreign Affairs Spokesman for the CDU party in Germany, said:
“If we look at the cultural life and the way business is done on the continent, it is clear that Europe has never been more British than it is now. We want things to remain that way – with Britain inside the EU”.
Axel Schäfer, a spokesman for the SPD party in Germany, said:
“The European Union is a club which 28 member states have joined voluntarily, not by force, and which is made up of them, and not of Brussels. It is also a club in which Britain plays a leading role, and which would be unimaginable without British leadership”.
Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory Leader and Work and Pensions Secretary, defended Johnson saying:
“It’s a historical fact of life that if you go through Napoleon, Hitler, everyone else, I think the whole process of trying to drive Europe together by force or by bureaucracy ultimately makes problem”.