A leading Conservative Brexiter has emailed activists using a fabricated quote by Sir Winston Churchill in support of Britain leaving the EU.
At the same time, Churchill’s grandson has claimed that his grandfather would be voting for Britain to ‘Remain’ in the EU were he alive today.
The blistering row over whether Britain’s greatest war leader would support ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ sees no sign of abating in the lead-up to the EU referendum on 23 June.
Sir Gerald Howarth, MP, Chairman of ‘Conservative Way Forward’, emailed activists that his group will be "campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union”.
His email added:
I look forward to working together with Conservative Way Forward activists to ensure that we seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a new and exciting future for our country outside the EU.
As Sir Winston Churchill said on 11 May 1953, “We have our own dream and our own task. We are with Europe, but not of it. We are linked but not combined. We are interested and associated but not absorbed. If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea”.But the quote by Churchill is a fabrication; a stitch-up of sentences that Churchill wrote or said before or during the war, but never after the war.
I have written to complain about Sir Gerald’s use of the deceptive quote:
This false quote has been doing the rounds by Brexiters for some time, but I had thought Sir Gerald would have checked the veracity of this deceptive Churchill quote before actually referring to it.
The first part of the quote was from an article Churchill wrote in 1930 called 'The United States of Europe'. The second part of the quote was shouted by Churchill in a blazing row with the French leader, Charles de Gaulle, on the eve of the Normandy Landings in 1944.
Sir Gerald should remove reference to this false Churchill quote forthwith. By stitching sentences together in this way, said at different times and in different circumstances, and then to claim Churchill said all this in one go in 1953 to mean something different to that intended, is more than just misleading.But that wasn’t all that was wrong in Sir Gerald’s email.
For example, his email also claimed that Britain could save £350 million a week "which the UK currently pays to Brussels". This is a false claim that Brexit campaigners refuse to drop, even though last month the UK Statistics Authority categorically stated Britain pays considerably less to the EU.
Sir Gerald has attracted controversy before.
In 2014 he declared his support for Enoch Powell's anti-immigration 'Rivers of Blood' speech in 1968 and said, "Clearly, the arrival of so many people of non-Christian faith has presented a challenge, as so many of us, including the late Enoch Powell, warned decades ago."
And in 2013, whilst debating the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, Sir Gerald warned of, "the aggressive homosexual community who see this as but a stepping stone to something even further." Sir Gerald did not clarify what he mean by, “something even further.”
Churchill's grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames, told the BBC that he believes Churchill would be voting to remain in the EU were he alive today.
The Conservative MP, a fervent advocate for Britain to stay in the EU said:
“The last thing on earth Churchill would have been would have been an isolationist - to want to stand apart from Europe right now at a difficult time.
“There is something awfully un-British, in my view, about wanting to leave.”Sir Winston Churchill is recognised as one of the 11 founders of the European Union, and has a building named after him at the European Parliament.
Other articles by Jon Danzig:
To follow my stories, please 'like' my Facebook page: Jon Danzig writes
• Readers comments are very welcome, including opinions that oppose mine. Comments need to be on-topic. Personal attacks and anonymous postings will not be allowed. To read more about the style of debating that I encourage on all my blogs, please read my article: 'Debate, don't hate'
• Join and share the discussion about this article on Facebook and Twitter:
#Brexit campaign must be desperate to use fabricated#Churchill quote. My report: https://t.co/uvuASKhHkg pic.twitter.com/We9VBBJKvW— Jon Danzig (@Jon_Danzig) May 11, 2016