Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe has compared EU membership to slavery.
Speaking in the European parliament on Thursday morning, Widdecombe said the UK was “right to be leaving this place hopefully on Halloween”.
Britain is set to exit the EU on October 31, with or without a deal, unless a further extension is agreed.
“It is right because there is a patten consistent throughout history of oppressed people turning on the oppressors. Slaves against their owners. The peasantry against the feudal barons,” Widdecombe said.
“Colonies, Mr [Belgian MEP Guy] Verhofstadt, against their empires. And that is why Britain is leaving.”
Lib Dem MEP Martin Horwood said to “imply that the United Kingdom is any way in a similar situation to the colonies of our former empire or a victim of slavery is deeply offensive”.
“Widdecombe’s comments trivialise the suffering of those who have experienced slavery and colonialism,” he said.
“If Ann Widdecombe had any grip on reality, she would have the sense to look at her own record on oppressing women and minorities when she defended shackling pregnant women and opposed repealing section 28.
“Ann Widdecombe has not only embarrassed herself, but she has embarrassed the nation she represents. I hope she withdraws her comments and sincerely apologises to all those she has offended immediately.”
Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: “It is impossible to explain how offensive and ahistorical it is for you to equate my ancestors tearing off their chains with your small-minded nationalist project. Shame on you.”
Brexit Party MEPs turned their backs during a rendition of Ode To Joy in the parliament on Tuesday as chaotic scenes marked the opening day of the new legislature in Strasbourg.
Lib Dem MEPs took their seats wearing yellow “bollocks to Brexit” T-shirts.
The Brexit Party and Lib Dems – each with opposing views on leaving the EU – came first and second respectively in the EU polls.
Meanwhile, newly-elected Green MEP Magid Magid, claimed he had been asked to leave the parliament building on his first day.
He tweeted: “I know I’m visibly different. I don’t have the privilege to hide my identity. I’m BLACK & my name is Magid. I don’t intend to try fit in. Get used to it!”