- Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman wants people with “extreme EU loyalties” to be prosecuted for treason.
- Campbell Bannerman has been an MEP since 2009, initially for UKIP, then defecting to the Conservatives in 2011.
- “I think it [the Treason Act] should extend to those undermining UK interests through extreme undemocratic loyalty to other states including the EU superstate
LONDON: A senior Conservative MEP has called for British people with “extreme loyalty to the EU” to be prosecuted under the Treason Act.
David Campbell Bannerman MEP was commenting in response to reports that terror experts have advised the UK to update its “archaic treason laws” in order to prosecute Jihadi’s returing from Syria.
After a backlash on Twitter, Campbell Bannerman deleted his tweet. Former Newsnight journalist Gavin Esler asked “how someone like this manages to get elected to public office?”.
Campbell Bannerman was a former Conservative Special Adviser to Northern Ireland Secretary Patrick Mayhew in the 1990s, before defecting to UKIP in 2004, and writing the bulk of their 2010 manifesto as Deputy Leader, which advocate limiting immigration down to 50,000 people a year, and included a five year freeze on permanent settlement.
Campbell Bannerman returned to the Conservatives in 2011, and has been an MEP for the East of England since 2009.
Responding to a BuzzFeed News request for comment, Campbell Bannerman said that he believed those who showed “extreme undemocratic loyalty” to the EU should be prosecuted.
“I think it [the Treason Act] should extend to those undermining UK interests through extreme undemocratic loyalty to other states including the EU superstate once we’ve left, but this does not of course apply to normal democratic support for the EU,” he said.
“It would be fine to form a democratic UK party to argue to rejoin the EU, for example.”
Remain campaigners described Bannerman’s rhetoric as dangerous.
“This c-list Tory MEP is suggesting putting the knife into free speech,” Best for Britain champion Virendra Sharma MP said.
“One of the best things about this country is the range of opinions that help diversify our political debate. David Bannerman should think long and hard about his spiteful populist rhetoric. This type of extremism is the real danger facing this country.”
Lib Dem spokesperson Ed Davey told Business Insider: “Bannerman’s comments embody the virus that has taken over the Conservative party. The Tories will call this an isolated incident, but these words could have come from several Brexiteers on the government benches.”
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