Michael Gove has compared economic experts warning about the fall-out of Brexit to the Nazis who orchestrated a smear campaign against Albert Einstein in the 1930s.
The Justice Secretary, who co-chairs the Vote Leave campaign, said experts cannot always be trusted and pointed to the German scientists used to denounce Einstein to back up his point.
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband on Tuesday said Gove should be "ashamed" of his comments which he said were "vile and repulsive".
Gove told LBC: "I think the key thing here is to interrogate the assumptions that are made and to ask if these arguments are good.
"We have to be careful about historical comparisons, but Albert Einstein during the 1930s was denounced by the German authorities for being wrong and his theories were denounced, and one of the reasons of course he was denounced was because he was Jewish.
"They got 100 German scientists in the pay of the government to say that he was wrong and Einstein said: 'Look, if I was wrong, one would have been enough.'"
Gove added: "The truth is that if you look at the quality of the analysis, if you look at the facts on the ground, you can come to an appropriate conclusion.
"And the appropriate conclusion, I think, all of us can come to is that with growth rates so low in Europe, with so many unemployed and with the nature of the single currency so damaging, freeing ourselves from that project can only strengthen our economy."
He made his comments after being challenged over why he is not heeding the advice of many economists who have warned that Brexit could have dire consequences and tip the economy into recession.
The International Monetary Fund, ten Nobel-prize winning economists and the Bank of England have all warned that leaving the EU could damage the economy.