Brexit ‘like appeasement of Nazis’ – Malloch-Brown
Brexit has been compared by a leading Remain supporter to appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
Former foreign office minister Lord Malloch-Brown, head of the Best for Britain group, made the comments after billionaire George Soros announced a campaign for a new Brexit referendum is set to be launched.
Mr Soros - who is reported to have given about £500,000 to Best for Britain, which was set up last year by anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller said action was needed as EU withdrawal was “immensely damaging” for the UK.
Lord Malloch-Brown said Britain needed to stay close to the EU because instances like appeasement showed what happened when the UK tried to shut itself off from the continent.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Britain’s history as an island nation adjacent to mainland Europe is when we try to, sort of, pull away from Europe’s problems and close ourselves off to them they have a horrible habit of infecting us anyway.
“Appeasement in the 1930s, you name it. For centuries Britain has ignored events on continental Europe at its peril.”
He said Mr Soros’s reputation as the “man who broke the Bank of England” in 1992, when the financier bet against sterling on the money markets, was an “unrelated issue” to the anti-Brexit push.
“He broke the Bank of England as a financier because the British pound was over-extended. It wasn’t credible.
“He broke the pound, not the Bank of England, I should say.
“He is someone who has devoted decades to an extraordinary global philanthropy which has fought for democracy and open values.”
Best for Britain, which wants to keep the UK open to EU membership, is expected to publish its campaign manifesto calling for a second referendum on June 8.
Meanwhile, an influential global body has upgraded its forecasts for UK economic performance, but warned of continuing “high uncertainties” over the outcome of Brexit.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s twice-yearly Economic Outlook report found that economic growth remains “modest” in the UK, compared with other major economies.
It warned that the Government must stand ready to ease up on austerity measures if growth weakens significantly in the run-up to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Brexit negotiations should aim to “preserve open trade with the European Union and high access for financial services to EU markets”, said the report.
After Bank of England Governor Mark Carney held back from expected hikes in interest rates, the OECD said that the historically low rates in place since the financial crash of 2008 can be expected to return to “normal” levels only at a “very gradual pace”.
The May 2018 Economic Outlook projected GDP growth of 1.4% in the UK this year - up from 1.2% in its November 2017 forecast.
Growth in 2019 was also nudged up from 1.1% six months ago to 1.3% now.
But the UK continues to lag behind most major economies, with world economic growth forecast at 3.8% this year and 3.9% in 2019.
Projected growth in the eurozone remains above 2% and in the US at about 3% in both years, with only Italy and Japan slated to underperform the UK.
The report said that “modest” growth in the UK was due to “high uncertainties about the outcome of Brexit negotiations”.
Belt-tightening measures planned by the Government for 2018 and 2019 were judged to remain “appropriate” in the economic circumstances.
But the authorities should “stand ready to further increase productivity-enhancing measures on investment if growth weakens significantly ahead of Brexit”.
> Former foreign office minister Lord Malloch-Brown