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26 Jul, 2019 14:54

‘Herr Juncker in the bunker’: Brexiteer’s off-the-cuff potshot sets Twitter alight

‘Herr Juncker in the bunker’: Brexiteer’s off-the-cuff potshot sets Twitter alight

Oft-controversial Conservative MP Mark Francois has once again set Twitter aflame, this time with an off-the-cuff remark linking the EU with Nazi-era Germany by referring to the EC president as “Herr Juncker in the bunker.”

The prominent Brexiteer made the remark about Jean-Claude Juncker while appearing on BBC Newsnight on Thursday. “Why can’t the EU be exactly the same? The EU says that there’s absolutely nothing that will change,” host Kirsty Wark asked the Tory MP for Rayleigh and Wickford.  

“Well, Herr Juncker in the bunker would say that, wouldn’t he,” Francois wryly responded.

The comment kicked off a maelstrom of reaction on social media as many took Francois’ bait and went into outrage mode. Labour MP David Lammy made the salient point that the European Commission president is from Luxembourg, while adding that it is a sign that the “hard right” have taken the reins of power in the UK.

“Yet more war rhetoric. Yet more invoking of anti-German sentiments. The country I so loved once. Gone,” Professor Tanja Bueltmann added. Political commentator Oliver Norgrove said: “If I was a Tory, I'd be utterly embarrassed by Mark Francois.”

Many also took it as an opportunity to have a pop at the BBC and questioned its motivations for inviting Francois on the program. “People get angry that Mark Francois gets invited on to talk about things despite the fact that all he offers is ignorant bile. But it’s worse than you think: He is invited on *because* he offers ignorant bile,” author and editor Ian Dunt wrote.

Meanwhile Francois’s performance was very well received by Leave campaigners who described the 53-year-old as a “breath of fresh air.” The official Leave campaign said Brussels should “be warned.”

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Later in the discussion, Francois added that the EU has been “rolling the UK over” for three years as British politicians had never really argued back, in his estimation. 

Francois has courted controversy before by invoking anti-German sentiments through off-the-cuff references to World War II.

He once lashed out at Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus, referring to him as a German paratrooper in his youth – Enders was born in 1958 – before invoking his family history. 

“If he thinks because he runs a big company he can bully British MPs how to vote, he is going to be sorely mistaken. My father Reginald Francois was a D-Day veteran, he never submitted to bullying by any German, neither will his son.”

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