A leading Brexit group has apologised and deleted a social media post that described Angela Merkel as “kraut”.
Leave.EU came under fire after tweeting a picture of the German Chancellor waving with the phrase: “We didn’t win two World Wars to be pushed around by a Kraut”.
The tweet is believed to be in response to reports Ms Merkel had insisted in a phone call with Prime Minister Boris Johnson that Northern Ireland remain within the EU customs union after Brexit.
It was condemned in the House of Commons on Tuesday by Independent Group for Change MP Chris Leslie and Tory MP Michael Gove, who “dissociated” himself from the comment.
Andy Wigmore, the communications director of the pro-Brexit group, tweeted on Wednesday morning: “We have removed the tweets from yesterday that were not appropriate, we went too far and we apologise”.
He tagged Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan who called the tweet “grotesquely offensive” and made the group look like ”racist idiots”.
Co-founder of the group, Arron Banks, also made an apology, writing: “The @LeaveEUOfficial team went too far yesterday but the real outrage is the German suggestion that Northern Ireland be separated from the UK.
Great, thanks Arron.
This is the right decision & I respect you for it. https://t.co/TYLinKj9qN— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan)October 9, 2019
“As a result we will delete the post and apologise accordingly…@piersmorgan on reflection the point could have been made better.”
Morgan replied: “Great, thanks Arron. This is the right decision & I respect you for it.”
In the Commons, Mr Leslie labelled the comments as "racist".
"Can I urge the minister to pause and reflect on the deliberate dog whistle briefing put out this morning by No 10 against Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, in the phone call apparently as reported between herself and the PM, which of course has then sparked a series of frankly racist attacks against the Germans from Leave.EU and others.
"This is an extremely dangerous course for the government to embark on."
Mr Gove responded: ""I take this opportunity to entirely disassociate myself from any racist or demeaning language against Germany.
"They are our friends, they are our allies, they are a great country."
A Number 10 source has said that after a call between Mr Johnson and Ms Merkel a Brexit deal is "essentially impossible".