David Campbell-Bannerman, an MEP from the East of England who was formerly a member of UKIP, tweeted that the treason law be updated to “apply to those seeking to destroy or undermine the British state.”
He added: “That means extreme jihadis. It also means those in future actively working undemocratically against U.K. through extreme EU loyalty.”
It was in response to a screenshot of a news story discussing the UK ending its opposition to the death penalty which could apply to British citizens who are being held in the USA and could be killed for their crimes.
Until 1998, treason was the only crime on the UK statute book which still carried the death penalty.
The comments were quickly condemned by Twitter users and others.
One asked: “Calling democratically seeking to remain in the EU “treason” makes you appear like a fascist, someone who is a bit dim, or a dim fascist. Are you not overcome with embarrassment that you sent this tweet?”
Lib Dem MP Ed Davey told Business Insider: “Bannerman’s comments embody the virus that has taken over the Conservative party. The Tories will call this an isolated incident, but these words could have come from several Brexiteers on the government benches.”