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Scottish Anti-EU Campaign Chief Promises Not To Mention Hitler

The chair of Scottish Vote Leave won't be taking too much inspiration from Boris Johnson.

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Tom Harris (left) with Tory MSPs Ross Thomson (centre) and Graham Simpson (right).
Jamie Ross / BuzzFeed

Tom Harris (left) with Tory MSPs Ross Thomson (centre) and Graham Simpson (right).

The chair of the Scottish Vote Leave campaign has promised not to mention Adolf Hitler in the run-up to 23 June's referendum on EU membership.

The Nazi chancellor has taken a surprisingly prominent role in British politics over the past month, most recently when Boris Johnson compared the EU to Hitler because both wanted to create "a superstate".

But at a campaign event on Wednesday morning where Scottish Vote Leave chair and former Labour cabinet minister Tom Harris was joined by two MSPs also backing Leave, Harris said he doesn't expect Hitler to play "a major part" in his campaign.

"The Scottish Vote Leave campaign is a Hitler-free zone," said Harris. "I have not come across any campaign that benefited from the mention of the former German chancellor."

Journalists pointed out to Harris that some German elections in the 1930s did benefit from Hitler mentions, to which Harris replied: "There's not been a recent one, so no, we don't expect that to play any major part in the Scottish campaign. Sorry to disappoint you."

Jamie Ross / BuzzFeed

Harris admitted there was a "disappointing" turnout of just two MSPs at his event, which a journalist pointed out to him "wasn't even enough for an SNP love triangle". He said he expected more MSPs to back Leave, but that it wouldn't be "a deluge".

On Monday BuzzFeed News revealed as many as eight MSPs could eventually back the Leave side, although some are reluctant to become signed-up members of Harris's Vote Leave campaign, preferring to concentrate on their new jobs as MSPs.

"It's disappointing there's no SNP [MSPs], who campaigned two years ago for more powers in the Scottish parliament," said Harris. "It's disappointing that the Labour party has never had any kind of internal debate about what Europe should be.

"It's only Conservatives who have so far come out [in Scotland] and I'm grateful for Graham [Simpson] and Ross [Thomson] for doing this. There may be others who will come out before the end of the campaign but I think these guys are brilliant."

Instead of Hitler, the Scottish Vote Leave campaign is expected to focus on more powers for the Scottish parliament and taking more control over industries such as fishing and agriculture.

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at

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