LONDON, England – British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of Daesh (ISIL), would welcome Britain leaving the European Union.
Cameron made the remarks to reporters on Tuesday following a speech at Mansion House organized by the World Economic Forum, which was aimed at bolstering arguments for remaining in the EU.
The prime minister has previously warned that leaving the EU, known as Brexit, could play into the hands of Britain’s enemies. However, this was the first time he claimed the Daesh terrorist group would be “happy” to see the UK leave the 28-member bloc.
Cameron was responding to criticisms of a speech he made last week in which he said Britain’s exit from the EU would increase the risk of another world war.
“I never said if we leave on Thursday, World War Three breaks out on Friday,” he said.
However, Cameron then said “Putin might be happy, I suspect al-Baghdadi might be happy.”
“Our friends around the world are giving us a very clear message, they are saying ‘it’s all up to you, it is your sovereign choice,’” he added.
The claim will lend more credence to allegations of fear-mongering by Brexit campaigners, who argue leaving the EU would give Britain greater control over its borders.
Both camps have highlighted the ramifications of leaving or remaining in the EU for national security against threats of terrorism.
The “Remain” campaign contends that pan-European security networks including Europol and the European Arrest Warrant help keep Britain safe and an exit would take away that advantage.
Boris Johnson, former London mayor and leader of the “Leave” campaign, has discredited Cameron’s EU negotiations as “meaningless.”
Johnson himself was accused of “crossing the boundaries” after he compared the EU’s unifying agenda to Adolf Hitler’s plans for domination of the continent.
EU President Donald Tusk said Johnson has “political amnesia” for making such a comparison.
“When I hear the EU being compared to the plans and projects of Adolf Hitler I cannot remain silent,” he said at a press conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday.
“Such absurd arguments should be completely ignored if they hadn’t been formulated by one of the most influential politicians in the ruling party,” Tusk said.
Johnson argued over the weekend that the EU was creating a super-state that mirrors the attempt of the Nazi leader.
Tusk’s intervention is significant as the EU’s most senior figures have been keeping a low profile in the campaign despite their anti-Brexit stance.
Britons will vote on June 23 to decide on their country’s future in the European Union.