LONDON • Former London mayor Boris Johnson, who is leading the "Out" campaign ahead of Britain's European Union (EU) membership referendum, has said that the bloc is following the path of Adolf Hitler and Napoleon by trying to create a European superstate.
Mr Johnson told The Sunday Telegraph newspaper that the EU lacks democracy and a unifying authority and is doomed to fail.
"Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically," Mr Johnson was quoted as saying in an interview.
"The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods. But fundamentally what is lacking is the eternal problem, which is that there is no underlying loyalty to the idea of Europe. There is no single authority that anybody respects or understands. That is causing this massive democratic void."
Mr Johnson, a front runner to succeed Prime Minister David Cameron, has emerged as the most important voice in the"Out" camp ahead of the June 23 referendum.
Mr Cameron, who is leading the "In" campaign, has argued that membership of the EU makes the country more secure, more influential and more prosperous. He also says Britain, which is not part of the single-currency euro zone, will not be dragged into ever closer union with the EU's member states.
But an opinion poll published on Saturday suggests that twice the number of voters believe Mr Johnson is more likely to tell the truth about the EU than Mr Cameron.
With less than six weeks to go until the referendum, voters are evenly split between wanting to remain in the EU and preferring to leave, according to other opinion polls.
Meanwhile, presumptive US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Britain leaving the European Union would make no difference to a potential bilateral trade deal if he became president, according to an interview clip aired by broadcaster ITV yesterday.
On a visit to London last month US President Barack Obama told Britons that if they elected to leave the EU, they would be at "the back of the queue" for a US trade deal.
"I am going to treat everybody fairly but it wouldn't make any difference to me whether they were in the EU or not," Mr Trump said in the interview due to be aired in full on ITV today. "You would certainly not be back of the queue, that I can tell you."