A KEY figure in the pro-Brexit campaign group fronted by Nigel Farage has appeared to compare its tactics to Nazi propaganda techniques.

Andy Wigmore was communications director for the Leave.EU campaign, funded by millionaire Arron Banks, in the run-up to the 2016 referendum.

He has privately acknowledged that it deliberately used “outrageous” and “provocative” tactics to keep immigration at the top of the referendum debate, and, speaking to an academic researcher, spoke of the “very clever” propaganda techniques of the Nazis.

His comments were described as “particularly concerning” by Damian Collins, the chairman of the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into “fake news”. In interview recordings released by the committee, Wigmore can be heard discussing Leave.EU’s contacts with Cambridge Analytica (CA), which he says did no work for the group after it failed in its bid to be named lead Brexit campaigner.

But he said that Leave.EU “copied” CA’s methods for pinpointing groups believed to be susceptible to specific messages.

Wigmore was among a number of figures from the Leave campaign and companies linked to CA who spoke to Essex University researcher Emma Briant for an upcoming book on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He told Briant that Leave.EU “completely, completely, completely” copied Trump’s campaign technique of making attention-grabbing and controversial comments.

Wigmore also said: “The propaganda machine of the Nazis, for instance – you take away all the hideous horror and that kind of stuff – it was very clever, the way they managed to do what they did.”

Wigmore described the release of the conversations as “wilful deception and trickery”. He said the Nazis came up for discussion “in a historical context” in reference to Remain campaign scare tactics.