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Backlash for Boris Johnson over EU 'Hitler' comparison

By Gavin Cordon

Published 16/05/2016

Boris Johnson at Boomer Industries in Lisburn on February 29. Pic Kevin Scott
Boris Johnson at Boomer Industries in Lisburn on February 29. Pic Kevin Scott

Boris Johnson faced a furious political backlash after he compared European Union efforts to build a federal super state to Hitler's plans to dominate the continent.

While the former London mayor acknowledged the EU was using "different methods" to the Nazis, Remain campaigners said his incendiary comparison to the Third Reich showed he was unfit for high office.

However, pro-Brexit Tories said he was simply stating a "historical fact of life" about the failure of successive attempts over the centuries to establish a "greater Europe".

The latest row erupted after David Cameron was attacked last week by Leave campaigners for suggesting that British withdrawal from the EU could lead to the outbreak of the Third World War.

Mr Johnson - seen as the de facto leader of the Leave campaign - said the past 2,000 years had been dominated by doomed attempts to unify the continent under a single government to recreate the "golden age" of the Romans.

"Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods," he said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph.

"But fundamentally what is lacking is the eternal problem, which is that there is no underlying loyalty to the idea of Europe. There is no single authority that anybody respects or understands. That is causing this massive democratic void."

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