WATCH: Ann Widdecombe blasted for comparing European Union to slave owners
Ann Widdecombe has come under fire after she compared the European Union to “oppressors” such as slave owners and feudal barons.
The Brexit Party MEP made the claim, which was branded offensive to those whose ancestors had been victims of slavery, as she made her maiden speech at the European Parliament.
Referring to the UK’s vote to leave the EU, she said: “There is a pattern consistent throughout history of oppressed people turning on their oppressors, slaves against their owners, the peasantry against the feudal barons, colonies against their empires, and that is why Britain is leaving.
"Nous allons, wir gehen, we're off. It doesn’t matter which language you use, we are going and we are glad to be going.”
The outspoken intervention prompted the EU Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, to brand the former Tory frontbencher a “clown”.
“Nigel Farage facing some stiff competition as chief clown of the Brexit Party in the @Europarl_EN," he tweeted.
“By the way, when Widdecombe talks about ‘colonies liberating themselves from their empires’, is she really referring to the American Revolution of 1776?”
Meanwhile black Labour MP David Lammy, added: “Anne Widdecombe just compared Britain leaving the EU to 'slaves' rising up 'against their owners'.
“It is impossible to explain how offensive and ahistorical it is for you to equate my ancestors tearing off their chains with your small-minded nationalist project. Shame on you.”
His party colleague and campaigner for pro-EU group Best for Britain, Virendra Sharma, added: “It's disgraceful that Ann Widdecombe feels able to use the historical catastrophe of slavery to suit her own agenda.
“Widdecombe is no messiah: she's another jumped-up populist who loves nothing other than the sounds of her own voice.
“The Brexit Party need to stop turning their backs on helping people. We need to stop Brexit to move past their attention-seeking theatrics.”
Co-founder of the For Future's Sake campaign, Jason Arthur, said: “It is simply outrageous of Ann Widdecombe to compare The EU and U.K. to 'slaves and oppressors'.
“The EU is made up of partners and allies, and undermining the historical struggle of oppressed people across the world is as insulting as it is wrongheaded.”