Ukip says a proposed British referendum on membership of the European Union should not be extended to 16 and 17-year-olds because of heavily funded pro-EU “propaganda”.
Ukip have accused the Liberal Democrats of trying to “gerrymander” a future in-out referendum by demanding that 16 and 17-year-olds and EU migrants were given a vote as the price for another coalition with the Conservatives.
But Ukip said people that young should not be able to vote in the referendum because they have been exposed to pro-EU propaganda.
I wouldn’t demur from the description of brainwashing
Ukip’s economics spokesman
When asked what she meant at a press briefing, Ukip deputy chairman Suzanne Evans said: “It’s everything there from colouring-in books on the Common Agricultural Policy for primary school children right up to research projects at university level.
“The amount of money that the EU is putting into this propaganda and throughout the entire education system is enormous.”
When asked if schoolchildren were being brainwashed, Patrick O’Flynn, Ukip’s economics spokesman, said: “I think it’s not a million miles away.
“It’s certainly designed to catch people young and feed them propaganda and a very partial view which you know just speaks up to the EU being an unalloyed good thing that we couldn’t possibly do without.”
Asked again, he replied: “It is an emotive term but I wouldn’t demur from the description of brainwashing.”
A European Commisson spokesman told The Telegraph “Opinion polls certainly do seem to show that a high proportion of young people see the EU as important for their future.
“If – and only if – schools contact us for information material, we supply it. It is for schools to make sure pupils are aware of the wide range of views on the EU expressed daily in Britain.”