An MP has compared domestic abuse victims who stay with their “brutal partner” to arguments against leaving the European Union.
Richard Fuller MP for Bedford and Kempston said those who argue the UK’s economic future will be less secure outside of the EU do so “based almost entirely on fear”.
He said: “These arguments are like those of a brutal partner in a dysfunctional relationship. ‘You know you will stay, because you know you are nothing on your own’ is the essence of the ‘remain’ economic case.
“As we know, the reality is that leaving a flawed relationship usually enhances freedom and can lead to a new, more positive beginning.”
The second-term Tory MP has been accused of “trivialising” the suffering inflicted on domestic abuse victims by europhile Richard Howitt MEP.
The long-standing Labour member for the European Parliament said: “It is truly sickening to seek to politicise the victims of domestic abuse by making an offensive comparison to Britain’s place in the European Union.
“When the Conservative Party allowed its MPs to campaign on both sides of the EU referendum campaign, they promised to so with respect and courtesy.
“Mr Fuller’s statement breaches that promise and the true brutality is only in his own words.”
The comments were published on Mr Fuller’s website this week as he outlined plans to vote to leave the EU because he believed Britain’s future will be more secure if it stands alone.
But Kempston North Councillor Shan Hunt took exception to the way he expressed those views.
She said: “People who suffer from domestic abuse go through a very difficult time so to make that sort of awful analogy is appalling.
“It’s inappropriate and extremely disappointing. I hope he retracts his comments.”
She called on the MP to attend one of her children’s social services meetings to see the damage caused by domestic abuse.
> Mr Fuller failed to comment before the T&C went to press.