Daniel Hannan, a pro-Brexit member of the European Parliament, eviscerated CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on live television after she made some out-there claims about the motivations behind last week’s referendum vote for England to leave to European Union.
During a live interview on Tuesday, Amanpour intimated that Hannan’s support for Brexit was fueled by xenophobia.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” she shouted at Hannan, after he said leaving the EU wouldn’t necessarily reduce immigration by a certain number, but would instead give the United Kingdom’s parliament control over their country’s immigration policies. “This whole thing was run on immigration!”
“You guys have been shouting ‘racist’ for so long, you weren’t listening to what we were actually saying!” Hannan said.
In response, Amanpour played a montage of man-on-the-street interviews with Brexit supporters who said they voted to leave the EU to curb immigration, or even deport foreigners.
“If I was relying on CNN as my only source of evidence, I would think this is a nativist vote, a protectionist vote — it’s the opposite. We are a global nation and we can do better than just a regional association,” Hannan responded.
“Are you concerned about some of the post-Brexit hate crimes — the graffiti, the hurling of insults?” she asked, referring to misleading reports that hate crimes jumped by 57 percent in the week since the referendum passed, when in fact that number refers to crime reports, not verified crimes, and can be fairly recalculated to a less than 5 percent change.
“In every society you have some racist idiots,” Hannan said. “…What you are suggesting is there is a connection between people who voted for more democracy and some of these instances — without any evidence. So there are some bad people! Of course we condemn them!” he shouted.
“Are you saying that 52 percent of the country are on a spectrum that connects them to this [an anti-Polish sign in a shop window]?” Hannan asked, referring to the 52 percent of Britons who voted in favor of Brexit.
“It was about an internationalist, global Britain, a more deregulated Britain, a freer Britain, and a more democratic Britain,” he said. “I have absolutely no issue with collaborating with our immediate neighbors. You would have to be insane to be against that.”
In an Oxford Union debate earlier this year, Hannan made the case for Brexit from the standpoint of economic growth: “I absolutely get the emotional appeal of Europe,” he said. “I speak French, I speak Spanish, I’ve lived and worked all over the continent.”
Hannan has repeatedly made the case for Brexit purely from an economic standpoint, stating that staying in the European Union largely benefits corporations but not the middle class.
“Why is it that Goldman Sachs, and J.P. Morgan, and Citi Bank and Morgan Stanley and all the rest are funding the people campaigning not to let us recover our independence?” he said.