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Boris Johnson links EU aims to Hitler

dpadpa 15/05/2016

Boris Johnson has compared the EU's aims to Hitler's, saying both involved the intention to unify Europe under a single "authority".

Former London mayor Boris Johnson says the European Union is trying to unify the bloc under one "authority", as did Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, in an interview with British media.

"Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically," said the outspoken Conservative politician, who is campaigning for Britain to vote to leave the European Union in a June 23 referendum.

"The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods," he conceded in an interview with the Daily Telegraph published late Saturday.

"Fundamentally what is lacking is the eternal problem, which is that there is no underlying loyalty to the idea of Europe," he said.

"There is no single authority that anybody respects or understands.

"That is causing this massive democratic void."

The opposing Britain Stronger In Europe campaign was quick to react, with former cabinet minister Yvette Cooper of the Labour Party accusing Johnson of playing a "nasty, nasty game", the Press Association reported.

"The more he flails around with this kind of hysterical claim, the more he exposes his shameful lack of judgment," she was quoted as saying.

"He should not try to play political games with the darkest and most sinister chapter of Europe's history."

The dispute was the latest in a contest which has been seen as a struggle for the leadership of the ruling Conservative Party. Prime Minister David Cameron is likely to come under pressure to step down if the public votes next month to leave the EU.

Johnson's remarks immediately elicited outrage on the part of those campaigning to remain in the EU ahead of a June 23 vote in Britain on whether to stay or leave.

The "stay" camp described Johnson's comments as a desperate effort take the focus off the economic impact such a rupture would create and on to the more populist theme of sovereignty issues.

"Leave campaigners have lost the economic argument and now they are losing their moral compass," said Hilary Benn, a senior member of the Labour Party.

"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."

Another leading figure in the "out" campaign, the nationalist UKIP party leader Nigel Farage, compared Johnson to former US President Ronald Reagan and rejected suggestions he wasn't serious enough to be Britain's prime minister.

"Boris goes on surprising people," Farage told the Mail on Sunday. "They say he can't do this, he's a joker - it's like Ronnie Reagan. Could he do it? Yes."

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