Leave.EU moves to weaponise Orlando in ‘shameful and cowardly’ poster
Group launched by Nigel Farage shows why it lost the contest for official designation lead Brexit campaign.
One of the groups calling for Britain to leave the European Union has unveiled an advert referencing the Orlando terrorist attack in a desperate bid to drive up votes for Brexit.
The advert urges voters to “act now before we see an Orlando-style atrocity here”.
Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 more in the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history, before being shot dead by police. Mateen was a US citizen of Afghan descent who was born in New York and lived in Florida.
Unsurprisingly, rival campaigners were quick to criticise the Leave.EU poster.
Labour’s Hillary Benn said: "This is a shameful and cowardly poster. It takes courage to stand by your principles and your friends when they are attacked, whether in Orlando, Paris or Brussels.
"Doing so makes us stronger and shows our resolve to stand up for our values and our way of life in the face of those who hold both in such murderous contempt."
First to respond on Twitter was education secretary Nicky Morgan who branded the advert “really shameful”.
She later stated: “Using the tragic deaths of innocent people to make a political point is simply shameful. Leave.EU must apologise for the hurt they have caused and apologise immediately."
She also called on Vote Leave to "condemn such despicable tactics and make clear that the Orlando attack has nothing whatsoever to do with the EU debate in this country".
Meanwhile, Britain Stronger Europe campaign chief Will Straw criticsed “disgusting & irresponsible Trump-ist scaremongering”.
Leave.EU deleted the image from its Twitter feed after around two hours. The group is bankrolled by Conservative-turned-Ukip donor Aaron Banks and was launched by Nigel Farage at Ukip’s 2014 conference.
In April, the less extreme Vote Leave group was designated as the lead campaign for the UK to leave the EU in the upcoming referendum.