Jeremy Hunt Rebuked After Comparing EU To “Prison” And “Soviet Union”
EU leaders say Hunt should read a history book after he compared them to the Soviet Union

The British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, drew angry reactions on Monday after he compared the European Union to the Soviet Union.

During a speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on Sunday, Hunt said: “What happened to the confidence and ideals of the European dream? The E.U. was set up to protect freedom. It was the Soviet Union that stopped people leaving,”

He said the EU should learn the lessons of history and not try to keep countries in line with dirty tactics.

“The lesson from history is clear: if you turn the E.U. club into a prison, the desire to get out won’t diminish it will grow — and we won’t be the only prisoner that will want to escape,” Hunt added. “If you reject the hand of friendship offered by our prime minister, you turn your back on the partnership that has given Europe more security, more freedom and more opportunities than ever in history.”

The Latvian ambassador Baiba Braže fired back, saying the USSR had “ruined lives of three generations” in her country while EU membership had brought “prosperity, equality, growth, respect”.

Read MoreJeremy Hunt To EU Leader: “Don’t Mistake British Politeness For Weakness”

The European commission’s chief spokesman, Margaritis Schinas also responded to Hunt’s comment: “I would say respectfully that we would all benefit – and in particular foreign affairs ministers – from opening a history book from time to time.”

The former ambassador to France and a former head of the Foreign Office Peter Ricketts called Hunt’s comment as “rubbish unworthy of a British foreign secretary.”

“The EU isn’t a Soviet-style prison. Its legal order has brought peace and prosperity after a century of war. Our decision to leave was always going to leave us worse off. The only punishment is the self-inflicted variety.” Ricketts tweeted.

Sir Simon Fraser, British former diplomat defended Ricketts’s remarks, writing on Twitter: “Whatever you think about Brexit, shocking failure of judgment for British foreign secretary to compare European Union with Soviet Union,”

Despite backing Remain at the 2016 EU referendum, Hunt has since stated he would now vote Leave due to the “arrogance” of the EU during divorce negotiations.

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