Brexiteer criticised for comparing EU to Soviet Union in the House of Lords

Laughter from the Tory benches as Lord Lilley compares the EU to the Soviet Union. Photograph: Parli

Laughter from the Tory benches as Lord Lilley compares the EU to the Soviet Union. Photograph: Parliament TV. - Credit: Archant

A former Tory cabinet minister has been criticised for comparing the European Union to the Soviet Union.

Conservative Brexiteer peer Lord Lilley received laughter from his own benches as he told the House of Lords: "It is a pleasure to follow the noble viscount, Lord Waverley, with whom I share an interest in central Asia.

"Like him, I have always found, when in Kazakhstan and neighbouring countries, that they have great sympathy with our decision to leave the European Union, having themselves left the Soviet Union."

The prominent Remain campaigner and Labour peer Lord Adonis followed Lord Lilley and was applauded for criticisng the comments.

He said: "I will simply say of the speech from the noble Lord, Lord Lilley, that his likening of the European Union to the Soviet Union will be hugely resented by all those countries of central and eastern Europe that were colonies of the Soviet Union but are free and democratic members of the European Union."

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Last year Jeremy Hunt was rebuked by the European Union for comparing the bloc to a Soviet Union prison.

He told Tory party conference: "The lesson from history is clear: if you turn the EU club into a prison, the desire to get out won't diminish, it will grow - and we won't be the only prisoner that will want to escape.

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"If you reject the hand of friendship offered by our prime minister, you turn your back on the partnership that has given Europe more security, more freedom and more opportunities than ever in history."

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