WORLDPOST
06/27/2016 10:34 pm ET

Brexit Leader Denies Vote Unleashed Surge Of Xenophobia, Racism

"That's an outrageous question," Dan Hannan told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

A leader of the U.K. Brexit campaign on Monday denied promoting the "leave" vote as a way to stem immigration and said the referendum outcome has nothing to do with a reported surge in incidences of racism.

Dan Hannan, a Conservative member of European Parliament, told CNN International host Christiane Amanpour that he "never, ever said" voting for Brexit would halt immigration. Shortly after the vote, he told the BBC that those who wanted Brexit to stop immigration would be "disappointed."

Hannan also scoffed at statistics that Amanpour said show a 57 percent increase in racist incidents since the Brexit vote. 

“Are you concerned about some of the post-Brexit hate crimes?" Amanpour asked.

“Oh, come on,” Hannan replied. “That’s our fault? That is an outrageous question. ... What you are suggesting is that there is a connection between people who voted in our democracy and some of these incidences.”

Amanpour skewered Hannan for the Brexit campaign's backpedaling on its campaign promise to roll back immigration limits. She noted that many among the 52 percent who voted to leave the EU did so to halt immigration.

“I’m hearing a softer, gentler version of what you proposed during the campaign,” Amanpour said. "You know ... the reason people voted, the majority of them, is to stop immigration into this country.

"You have said, and your 'leave' campaign -- and you are the lead spokesman of the 'leave campaign' -- that immigration and the free flow of movement is the sine qua non," Amanpour said.

Hannan said he "never, ever said that," and accused CNN of "shouting racist" at the leave campaign.

Amanpour showed a clip of people saying they voted to leave the EU over immigration worries.

"It's to stop the Muslims from coming into this country, simple as that," one man said.

Watch the entire CNN exchange above.

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