David Lammy is spot on – the British right is tumbling into extremism and we should call it out before it’s too late

Having spent years throwing flammable material into our national debate, Brexiteers are now acting aghast at a big fire raging

The backlash to David Lammy’s comments yesterday has been entirely predictable and hypocritical. If there’s one thing for which you can rely on Brexiteers, it’s to blame others for the mess they spent years carefully creating.

David Lammy told Andrew Marr on the BBC yesterday: “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.”

And he’s absolutely right. Last year the former head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany said of the country’s AfD: “For the first time a party has made it into national parliament whose programme can be summarised with the words: Jews out.” When asked if she saw the AfD as a Nazi party, she said: “What else are you supposed to call a party that disseminates a platform that makes Jewish life impossible?”

These are the people Jacob Rees-Mogg is boosting and promoting from his own Twitter feed. These are the people Boris Johnson’s ally Steve Bannon praised and wanted to forge an alliance with.

The idea we should give an inch of respectability to these people and allow European Research Group members to mainstream them is unacceptable. We must not give an inch, as Lammy rightly said.

And this isn’t the first time Rees-Mogg has consorted with the far right. In 2013 he was “guest of honour” at the annual dinner for a group called Traditional Britain, which called for ethnic-minority Britons to “return to their natural homelands”. Rees-Mogg claimed he didn’t know their views before he went, though I usually like to know who I’m having dinner with.

When a Muslim MP is found sharing antisemitic memes, she is rightly asked to apologise and educate herself. But when a Tory MP is boosting antisemitic parties in Europe, most of our right-wing press and the BBC look the other way. The double standards are galling.



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