David Cameron mocked for claiming Islamic State leader would welcome Brexit
Tory MP compares his leader to flawed protagonist from The Bridge Over The River Kwai.
David Cameron has angered opponents in the Brexit battle by warning that the Islamic State leader would be happy if Britain opted to leave the European Union.
The prime minister’s comments came in a speech today in which he also sought to demolish what he branded nine economic "myths" peddled by the Leave campaign.
His words drew an immediate rebuke from pro-Brexit voices, with Conservative MP Stewart Jackson saying that Cameron resembled Colonel Nicholson from The Bridge Over The River Kwai. In the award-winning film, Nicholson is the embodiment of irrational willpower as he supervises the construction of a new railway bridge for enemy forces in western Thailand.
The latest EU spat came as John McDonnell gave a speech saying the referendum had brought out the worst in Westminster politics. The shadow chancellor attacked the Conservatives, saying the referendum had only come about because of splits in the party and their fear of UKIP.
He added: "As a result I think the debate has degenerated into the worst form of negativity and brought out the worst in Westminster politics. The negativity has been overwhelming at times."
Speaking today, Cameron suggested said that the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would welcome Britain leaving the EU.
"It is worth asking the question, who would be happy if we left. Putin might be happy. I suspect al-Baghdadi might be happy.
"But our friends around the world are giving us a very clear message; they are saying it’s all up to you, it is your sovereign choice, but our friends in Australia and New Zealand and America and all around the world and all around Europe are saying we would like you to stay."
Jackson hit back on Twitter: "With latest hysterical claims re #Brexit Cameron is starting to resemble Col Nicholson with the Tory Party as the Bridge on the River Kwai."
The 1957 British-American World War II epic directed by David Lean won seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture). In the film, British prisoners at a Japanese prison camp are forced to construct a bridge that the enemy need for their railroad. Overseeing the work, Nicholson becomes so proud of the bridge that he essentially forgets about the war.
The film ends with Nicholson desperately attempting to stop his own men from blowing up the bridge, resulting in a fellow officer being shot dead by Japanese fire. A mortally wounded Nicholson then collapses on a detonator and blows up the bridge himself.