A cross-partisan lobby calling for Brexit says former Labour leader Neil Kinnock’s son Stephen, a serving MP, has sunk to a new low by making a “wholly inappropriate” analogy with the Troubles in arguing that the United Kingdom should stick with Europe.
Speaking in the House of Commons, the Welsh MP asked if “a withdrawing state is...liable to suffer what would amount to a punishment beating to dissuade others from withdrawing, and that therefore there is no such thing as a soft Brexit?”
Leave.eu, which does what it says on the tin, says Kinnock’s language, referencing the vicious attacks by paramilitaries which were such an unpleasant feature of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, is not appropriate.
Jack Montgomery, a spokesman, said: “The pro-EU campaign’s mask is starting to slip as the polls turns against them.
“Last week it was Will Straw of ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ claiming we would be penalised for leaving, earlier this week we had The Guardian running an editorial in which a Dutch writer described how the EU would ‘strangle or crush the English in the post-Brexit negotiations’.
“Now with Stephen Kinnock’s comments they really have sunk to a new low. Staying put out of fear is no guard against potential maltreatment, as the Greek case shows.
“We’re perfectly capable of having peace, trade and honest friendship with our neighbours without merging our political institutions into theirs. Look at Canada and the United States.”
Mr Kinnock pointed out how the Lisbon treaty states that, on announcing its intention to withdraw from the EU, the withdrawing state will automatically be excluded from all meetings of the European Council.