Jacob Rees Mogg has hit back at David Lammy for comparing the pro-Brexit European Research Group to Nazis, calling the remarks “senseless”.
The Labour MP is usually a “serious political figure”, ERG leader Rees-Mogg told an LBC radio phone-in on Monday.
But “when people start saying things like this, you realise they have lost all sense of proportion,” he said. “It’s not in any sense a wise comment – it’s so patently not true.”
The North East Somerset MP added: “To compare a group within the House of Commons to an organisation that killed six million Jewish people and millions of others as well is just senseless – it doesn’t do anything, it doesn’t help political debate.
“It is mere abuse that makes the person saying it look foolish and second rate, rather than doing any damage to the people its levelled against.”
“I don’t care how elected they were, so was the far-right in Germany,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “They are often elected, often giving cover for the thugs on the ground.
“And I’m afraid when people are experiencing rising hate and extremism in this country, we must not concede ground – we must fight it and call it out for what it is.”
Meanwhile, the Tottenham MP described Rees-Mogg as “someone who is happy to put onto his webpages the horrible, racist AfD party that is Islamophobic and on the far-right of the German system”.
Rees-Mogg faced wide-spread criticism earlier this month after he shared a video of the co-leader of the far-right AfD party speaking about Brexit.
But when challenged about the tweet on Monday, he said he did not regret sharing it.
“I didn’t endorse it – I put something on Twitter that was interesting and it’s undeniably interesting from the leading opposition party in Germany,” he told Nick Ferrari.
“As a politician, you come into contact with other politicians. That doesn’t mean an endorsement or a non-endorsement.”
Meanwhile, Brexiteer Boris Johnson – a figurehead for the Vote Leave campaign during the EU referendum – described Lammy’s comments as a “peculiar outburst”.
“I have always liked David Lammy, but I have never seen such a ferocious grip of the wrong end of the stick,” he wrote in his Telegraph column.
“Lammy and I worked together for years. He knows that I was for a long time just about the only politician willing to stick up for the benefits of immigration,” Johnson continued.
“So why does he say this stuff? Why does this conspiracy theory carry credence on the internet? Because of Brexit, and the whole gamut of misplaced associations that go with it.”