Boris Johnson blasts back after Labour's David Lammy accuses him of courting fascism
Boris Johnson has hit back at David Lammy after the Labour MP compared hard Brexiteers to Nazis.
The former foreign secretary condemned the "outburst" by Mr Lammy and dismissed as a "conspiracy theory" claims he is linked to Donald Trump's right-wing former aide Steve Bannon.
Mr Lammy told the Andrew Marr show on Sunday that a previous comparison between Brexiteers and Nazis was “not strong enough” and doubled down on his criticism of the European Research Group of Tory eurosceptics.
He said: "We do know that Boris Johnson is with Steve Bannon who is a white supremacist."
And he warned: "I don’t care how outraged they are...
"British soldiers in this country died fighting this thuggery and extremism and here we are in 2019 and people are bringing it into the mainstream for their own political advantage."
But, in his latest Telegraph column, Mr Johnson attacked the "peculiar outburst" and accused the Tottenham MP of peddling online conspiracy theories.
"I have always liked David Lammy, but I have never seen such a ferocious grip of the wrong end of the stick," Mr Johnson said.
"Whatever you may think of my time as mayor in London’s City Hall, or as foreign secretary, I don’t think you could say that it amounted to a fascist regime."
And he added: "As for the so-called association with Steve Bannon, I am afraid this is a lefty delusion whose spores continue to breed in the Twittersphere.
"Of course I met Mr Bannon a couple of times when I was foreign secretary and he was Trump’s chief of staff. But not since.
"So I find Lammy’s suggestion that I am 'with Steve Bannon' a bit perplexing."
The former foreign secretary - who quit the Cabinet last year with a blast at Theresa May's Brexit deal - also defended his record on immigration.
He argued Mr Lammy would know he was "for a long time just about the only politician willing to stick up for the benefits of immigration".
And he asked: "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."
The Tottenham MP's remarks also drew criticism from Jacob Rees-Mogg, who sparked fury earlier this month when he shared an online video by the far-right Germany AfD party.
The ERG chair told PoliticsHome: "Mr Lammy lessens his arguments by the use of such foolish language. It trivialises any comments he may make."