Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has defended his decision to tweet a video of a speech on Berlin’s role in Brexit by the senior member of the opposition AfD Party, stressing that although he does not support the AfD’s views, the opinions expressed by Alice Weidel are of “real importance”.
Rees-Mogg claimed that Weidel’s speech “shows a German view of Brexit and it’s saying to the Germans: ‘Look, you’re paying for this, you’re going to pay more for this’, and Angela Merkel has tied herself up in knots with the French to the disadvantage of the Germans”.
“And I think it’s important people know this is a strand of German political thinking. I don’t think retweeting is an endorsement of things that other people stand for. It’s just pointing out that there’s something interesting that is worth watching”, he said.
Via his Twitter account, Rees-Mogg also quoted the AfD leader as saying, “is it any wonder the British see bad faith behind every manoeuvre from Brussels?”.
It was an excerpt from Weidel’s speech, in which she, in particular, lashed out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, claiming that “due to your negligence and your failure to help out the UK, our historically good relationship is being threatened”.
Many netizens, including Labour MP David Lammy, berated Rees-Mogg for “promoting Germany’s overtly racist party”.
Lammy’s Labour colleague Stella Creasy sarcastically asked Rees-Mogg “to forgive us if don’t use them [the AfD’s anti-Muslim remarks] as you do as a metric for decent opinions by which we should be influenced”.
With respect this is an appalling post, unworthy of any British politician.— arthur stafford (@arthurliverpool) 1 апреля 2019 г.
This tweet should be followed by your resignation.— Ian (@afc42) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Ohhh retweeting German Nationalists…. I shouldn’t even by surprised anymore— Mrs. Fox (@FoxOnSecurity) 1 апреля 2019 г.
It's a serious lapse of judgement on your part to quote the AfD, sir. Even if they proclaimed that this Monday is April 1st, you woud be better advised to quote someone else.— Ruari McCallion (@RuariJM) 31 марта 2019 г.
The AfD is seriously tainted.
AFD is very close to a Nazi party. Stop spreading their populist, one sided nonsense. They do not care about the EU or the UK.— Veroni*a (@VikaPT84) 31 марта 2019 г.
AFD are Neo-Nazis.— Sweet Peas & Savory (@sweetpeabalcony) 31 марта 2019 г.
Shame on you.— The Right Honourable Léonie Medea ★ (@areuledd) 31 марта 2019 г.
Rees-Mogg knows exactly what he is doing and he is not the first Brexiter or establishment Tory to nudge nudge wink wink to the extreme right. Horrifying.— Holly Brigstocke (@HollyBrigstocke) 1 апреля 2019 г.
JRM gives AfD a certain status by tweeting their speech. No status of disapproval but in a certain sense of approval, which is another step in accepting this right-wing party and what they think! The UK is blessed by having such a MP…— Kamerlid151ᵛᵉʳᶥᶠᶥᵉᵈ (@Kamerlid151) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Perhaps he should have waited until someone else, who isn't a neo-Nazi, voiced those views from Germany that he wanted to share.— Meichl Kirkby (@meichlkirkby) 1 апреля 2019 г.
Perhaps if no one else was sharing them, they're exclusive to neo-Nazis.
And so perhaps one shouldn't share the views of neo-Nazis.
Unbelievable. Whether you support AfD or not promoting one of its messages gives it a platform and signals it's ok to support their views. The fact this isn't being condemned by leadership shows how weak this government is.— Peter Haynes (@Peter_Haynes) 1 апреля 2019 г.
We have to deal with the AFD on the Council of Europe. One of their reps claims that 'muslims in Europe are seeking to kill all germans'. So forgive us @Jacob_Rees_Mogg if don't use them as you do as a metric for decent opinions by which we should be influenced….#fascists https://t.co/yC1pkmJYo8— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) 31 марта 2019 г.
Jacob Rees-Mogg promoting Germany's overtly racist party, AfD. Our country's proudest moment was defeating the far right. Now we are supposed to sit back while xenophobes, nativists, nationalists & isolationists do their best to tear Europe apart again. We must not let them win. https://t.co/L9QMLAzw1D— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) 1 апреля 2019 г.
One Twitter user went even further, claiming that “the AfD is very close to a Nazi party”, and urged Rees-Mogg to “stop spreading their populist, one sided nonsense”.
The AfD became the third-largest party in Germany, claiming 94 seats in the Bundestag, after the 2017 federal election.
Over time, the party shifted its focus from an anti-euro campaign to immigration and Islam. In 2018, an AfD poster showing light-skinned teenagers running along with the slogan “Islam-free schools” drew criticism.