Britain's Prime Minister Compared to Hitler as Brexit Fights Heat Up

A Welsh parliamentarian sparked a furor in Britain this week by comparing British Prime Minister Theresa May to Adolf Hitler, saying that her attempts to control Britain's Brexit negotiations were similar to the World War II–era fascist leader's 1933 Enabling Act, which allowed him to enact laws without the Parliament's approval.

The comments by Lord Roberts of Llandudno, a member of the Liberal Democrats party, were made as Britain's House of Lords discussed the nation's bill to leave the European Union. Roberts called out May's insistence that the government play an outsize role in the Brexit process.

He then claimed that May's unwillingness to include Parliament in the Brexit negotiations reminded him of when the German Reichstag passed a bill that "transferred democratic rights of the parliament into the hands of one man."

"That was the chancellor, and his name was Adolf Hitler," Roberts said in the House of Lords. "Perhaps I'm seeing threats that do not exist, but they are there, they are possible."

The comments drew criticism from some members of the Conservatives, but they come at a time when the party is expected to be punished in the London elections this week due to May's Brexit strategy.

The country's leadership is debating its own role in the ongoing and difficult negotiations with the European Union. May created a government department, headed by conservative parliamentarian David Davis, to take responsibility for Brexit talks. Other figures, such as former defense minister Liam Fox and foreign secretary Boris Johnson, are also involved in the negotiations with Europe over the terms of Britain's departure.

May and Davis have proposed a bill that would allow the Parliament to vote on a Brexit deal, with the caveat that London would be forced to leave the EU without a deal if the Parliament chooses not to approve whatever agreement the government cabinet negotiated.

Critics say that this provision would make the Parliament's vote completely meaningless and ineffectual. On Monday, the House of Lords passed an amendment that would permit the Parliament to stop the U.K. from leaving the European Union if members of Parliament (MPs) do not agree with the terms May's team negotiates. In that case, a negative vote from Parliament could force May to return to Brussels for further negotiations. May and her team argue that this condition would weaken their position during negotiations.

The bill will now return to the House of Commons, where May and her allies will attempt to convince the MPs to overturn the amendment from the House of Lords later this month.

At stake are key questions over who represents the will of the British people. Both sides have accused the other of trying to usurp power for their own benefit. At least one conservative MP slammed the comparison of May to Hitler as an unacceptable trivialization of evil.

"It's shameful for our country, it's shameful for our Parliament and completely unacceptable," Conservative parliamentarian Robert Halfon said.