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Tory MEP condemned for suggesting ‘extreme EU loyalty’ treasonable

Brexiteer David Campbell Bannerman made the suggestion after MPs proposed changing archaic laws to better deal with returning jihadists.

A Conservative MEP has been accused of “putting the knife into free speech” after suggesting the Treason Act be changed to target those guilty of “extreme EU loyalty” as well as terrorism.

David Campbell Bannerman, who represents the East of England in Brussels, was responding to the call from a group of MPs to update the law to target jihadis who have fought for Islamic State in Syria.

Writing on Twitter he backed the change and suggested it go a step further, writing: “It is about time we brought the Treason Act up to date and made it apply to those seeking to destroy or undermine the British state.

“That means extreme jihadis. It also means those in future actively working undemocratically against UK through extreme EU loyalty.”

Labour MP and Best for Britain supporter Virendra Sharma attacked the comments, saying: “This C-list Tory MEP is suggesting putting the knife into free speech.

“One of the best things about this country is the range of opinions that help diversify our political debate.

“David Bannerman should think long and hard about his spiteful populist rhetoric.

“This type of extremism is the real danger facing this country.”

Mr Campbell Bannerman, who has been an MEP since 2009, quit the Tories in 2004 and joined Ukip over the party’s “two-faced position on Europe”.

He became deputy leader before unsuccessfully challenging Nigel Farage for the party leadership in 2010, finishing third.

He defected back to the Conservatives the following year, saying he had been won over by David Cameron’s tough stance with the EU.

After his tweet he clarified that political differences were “clearly” not the same as terrorism, but continued: “If we have a new Treason Act what should it cover?

“Undermining the nation’s interests in surely an extreme manner only.”

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