The chief of the Best for Britain campaign today compared Brexit to the appeasement of the Nazis just days before group launches its push for a second EU referendum.
Lord Malloch-Brown insisted Britain still needed to learn from centuries of trying to ignore problems on the continent and in a Radio 4 interview specifically highlighted the rise of Hitler.
The incendiary intervention comes a day after billionaire financier George Soros – who is bankrolling Best for Britain – revealed the referendum push would start in days.
Ex Ukip leader Nigel Farage has lashed out at the campaign warning the country has already made up its mind about Brexit.
Best for Britain wants to secure a large mandate to reverse the 2016 referendum on the grounds the negotiation has not secured a good deal for Britain.
Lord Malloch-Brown, the chief of the Best for Britain campaign, today compared Brexit to the appeasement of the Nazis just days before group launches its push for a second EU referendum
Billionaire anti Brexit campaigner George Soros yesterday admitted that the EU is in ‘existential crisis’ because of its failure to reform (file pic)
Lord Malloch-Brown told the 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.
WHO ARE BEST FOR BRITAIN AND WHAT DO THEY WANT?
Best for Britain was launched by Gina Miller as a campaign to encourage tactical voting against Brexit
Best for Britain is a campaign group dedicating to moderating and ultimately reversing Brexit.
It was launched by Gina Miller, the former model who successfully challenged the Government in court over to Article 50, to encourage anti-Brexit tactical voting at the election.
Ms Miller left the group soon after the election and former Labour minister Mark Malloch-Brown took over as chairman.
The group is actively fundraising for its efforts to frustrate Brexit. As well as big money donations from people like George Soros, it run crowdfunding – including a new campaign to ‘stand up for free speech’.
It urged MPs to vote against the flagship Brexit Withdrawal Bill and campaigns to protect universities from what it describes as a right-wing witch hunt.
The group draws cross party support, frequently issuing statements from MPs including Daniel Zeichner from Labour, Tom Brake from the Lib Dems and Green Caroline Lucas..
The board includes former Olympian Stephen Peel economist Anatole Kaletsky, businessman Clive Cowdery, while the CEO is activist Eloise Todd.
‘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.’
Mr Soros, 87, yesterday warned it could take five years for Britain to fully quit the Brussels bloc because of legal wrangling.
The financier suggested the Brexit vote could be reversed and the UK could decide o stay in the EU after all.
In a speech at the European Council on Foreign Relations think-tank event in Paris he said: ‘Ultimately, it’s up to the British people to decide what they want to do.
‘It would be better however if they came to a decision sooner rather than later. That’s the goal of an initiative called the ‘Best for Britain’, which I support.
‘Best for Britain fought for, and helped to win, a meaningful parliamentary vote which includes the option of not leaving at all.
‘This would be good for Britain but would also render Europe a great service by rescinding Brexit and not creating a hard-to-fill hole in the European budget.
‘But the British public must express its support by a convincing margin in order to be taken seriously by Europe.
‘That’s what the Best for Britain is aiming for by engaging the electorate. It will publish its manifesto in the next few days.’
Nigel Farage (pictured on his LBC show last night) lashed Mr George Soros for vowing to launch a campaign for a second EU referendum ‘within days’.
Who is George Soros and why is he known as the man who broke the Bank of England?
George Soros had already made a fortune and a formidable reputation by 1992.
But that was when he secured his tag as the ‘man who broke the Bank of England’.
Short selling US$10billion worth of Sterling during the Black Wednesday crisis made him a reported profit of £1.5billion.
The 87-year-old Hungarian-born financier is now one of the world’s richest men.
His wealth was estimated by Forbes magazine last year at £25billion.
Mr Soros has previously warned that Brexit will be a disaster for the economy, and suggested the UK could immediately apply to rejoin the EU.
One of Mr Soros’s foundations gave the money to Best for Britain, a Remain group that wants to force a second EU referendum.
Over the past 40 years he is said to have donated £11billion to philanthropic causes.
He added: ‘In the meantime, the EU needs to transform itself into an association which nations like Britain would want to join.’
And Mr Soros warned: ‘It is no longer a figure of speech to say that Europe is in existential danger; it is the harsh reality.’
Mr Soros’ speech came as the EU is facing a fresh crisis as political disarray in Italy casts doubt over its future in the bloc.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella is facing impeachment calls after he defied voters and refused to appoint a fiercely eurosceptic finance minister.
Mr Soros said the EU project has taken a series of blows over the past decade which threaten to derail it altogether.
But he warned of the dangers of Brexit, telling the audience: ‘Brexit is an immensely damaging process, harmful to both sides.
‘This divorce will be a long process, probably five years, which is an eternity in politics.’
Mr Soros – dubbed the man who broke the Bank of England after he bet against the pound on Black Wednesday – said the EU’s reputation has taken a battering in recent years.
He said the financial crisis of 2008 followed by the chaotic response to the huge influx of refugees in 2015 had led many young people to ‘regard the EU as an enemy that has deprived them of jobs and a secure and promising future.’
Brexit Secretary David Davis (pictured with EU negotiator Michel Barnier at the March summit in Brussels) is negotiating Britain’s departure from the bloc. But George Soros warned that it could take many years of wrangling before Britain fully quits
He also said the EU’s role in foreign affairs and diplomacy has taken battering after Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal which Brussels had championed.
WHEN WILL BRITAIN BE OUT OF THE EU?
Britain triggered Article 50 on March 29, 2017, starting a two year process for leaving the EU:
March 2018: Outline transition deal agreed, running for about two years
June 2018: EU summit that Brussels says should consider broad principles of a future trade deal.
October 2018: Political agreement on the future partnership due to be reached
Early 2019: Major votes in Westminster and Brussels to ratify the deal
March 29, 2019: Article 50 expires, Britain leaves the EU. Transition is expected to keep everything the same for about two years
December 31, 2020: Transition expected to come to an end and the new relationship – if it has been agreed – should kick in
He said the move by the American President was ‘effectively destroying the trans-Atlantic alliance.’
He added: ‘This development will put additional pressure of unpredictable force on an already beleaguered Europe – It’s no longer a figure of speech to say Europe is in existential danger.’
Mr Soros also warned that the election of right-wing populist Viktor Orban in Hungary is challenging the very principals the EU was funded on.
He said: ‘Viktor Orban based his entire re-election campaign on falsely accusing me of planning to flood Europe, Hungary included, with Muslim refugees.
‘He is now posing as the defender of his version of a Christian Europe, that is challenging the values on which the European Union was founded.’
Mr Soros said the EU should try to salvage its project by abandoning the euro and funding a 30 billion euro Marshall Plan for Africa to ease the flow of migrants to the continent.
He said: ‘The euro has many unresolved problems and they must not be allowed to destroy the European Union.’