UK conservative MEP rebuked for comparing socialists to Nazis
Strasbourg (France) : A British member of the European Parliament met backlash in the chamber on Wednesday when he claimed that Nazism was a branch of left-wing ideology that shared the same goals as contemporary socialists.
Syed Kamall, a Conservative Party MEP for London and leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists, was responding to criticism from German Social Democrat MEP Udo Bullmann when he compared Germany's centre-left to the 1930s-era Nazi regime that plunged the whole continent into World War II.
"Mr Bullman, I would remind you when you talk about right-wing extremists, that Nazis were national socialists. It's a strain of socialism, it's a left-wing ideology, they want the same things as you, let's be quite clear," Kamall said to groans and jeers in the chamber, according to Efe news.
Outspoken eurosceptic Nigel Farage, an MEP for the United Kingdom Independence Party, who sat to Kamall's left, nodded in agreement.
It prompted a heated response from Dutch Labour Party member and Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans who shouted: "The first ones who were killed were socialists, you idiot!"
Kamall later tweeted an apology to Bullman.
His comparison between leftists and Nazis was refuted by virtually all mainstream historians and political scientists, as the regime led by Adolf Hitler was consistently classified as indisputably belonging to the extreme right of the conventional spectrum.
Socialists and communists were among the first political prisoners sent to concentration camps once Hitler's National Socialist German Workers' Party rose to power in 1933 and immediately outlawed the Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party.