War of words erupts over Magid meme shared by Lib Dem Lord
Veteran Sheffield politician Paul Scriven had accused the city's former Lord Mayor Magid Magid of being a ‘recruiting sergeant for the Brexit Party’.
Mr Scriven tweeted the extraordinary attack on Friday along with a quote from an article written by Magid which was featured on an internet meme created by the anti-Europe Leave.EU group.
The meme quotes a part of the article - which appeared on the Politico website - in which Magid says as a new MEP he feels he has stepped into a ‘maze of bureaucracy, needless technicalities and political performance’.
However, in the rest of the piece Magid goes on to express his vision of a better EU, which engages more with citizens, is more open and transparent and champions the positive impact made on communities by immigration.
Mr Scriven said he believed Magid had been ‘naive’ in spouting the core message of Leave and parroting one of their key lines of attack against the EU and went on to defend his use of the Leave.EU meme, an organisation that was fined by the Electoral Commission for multiple breaches of election law in the 2016 referendum campaign.
He said: “Well the facade of the ‘cheeky chappie’ is beginning to fade. It might be a hoot wearing your Docs and baseball cap.
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“But serious progressive politicians who want change don't shoot from the hip and become recruiting sergeants for the Brexit Party.”
Responding on Saturday, Magid said it was a ‘genuinely absurd’ thing for Mr Scriven to say that made it clear that a grown-up conversation about Europe was not his goal.
“If his point is that the status quo in Brussels works for everyone in Europe - then he's either deluded or willfully misleading the public,” he said.
“Central to gaining another EU referendum in the UK, mobilising for Remain, and stopping Brexit is having an honest conversation - this time - about where the very real benefits of the EU and where it must improve.
“We MEPs, we remainers need to lead the efforts in making that happen, right now. Otherwise, no one will trust us when the referendum comes.”
“I love the EU and the European project. Indeed I love it enough to fight for it to become the best version of itself, by publicly recognising where we must change in order to survive and flourish.
”Lib Dem remainers can help me with this, or they can choose to carry on putting party over country, people and continent.”