– By Tim Lezard The career of Tory MP Aiden Burley today lies in the balance after a court heard he bought a Nazi costume for a friend to wear at a stag party in France. Burley, who is chairman of the anti-union Trade Union Reform Campaign, also faces …
– By Tim Lezard
The career of Tory MP Aiden Burley today lies in the balance after a court heard he bought a Nazi costume for a friend to wear at a stag party in France.
Burley, who is chairman of the anti-union Trade Union Reform Campaign, also faces allegations that he lied to the Jewish Chronicle in the aftermath of the incident at the Val Thorens ski resort two years ago.
At the time, the Mail on Sunday reported his group of friends dressed up in SS uniforms, performed Nazi salutes in a restaurant and called each other “Himmler”, “Eichmann” and “Mein Fuhrer”.
The ambitious right wing MP for Cannock Chase was in December 2011 sacked from his post as Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department of Transport just 48 hours after the Jewish Chronicle called for him to go.
In a letter of apology to the newspaper, he suggested he knew nothing about the Nazi theme in advance, writing: “On reflection, I wish I had left as soon as I realised what was happening. What was happening was wrong and I should have completely disassociated myself from it.”
This appears to contradict the evidence presented in court yesterday, when Mark Fournier, the man who wore the Nazi costume, said it had been hired for him by Burley. Fournier was fined €1,500 and ordered to pay €1,000 in damages after being charged with “wearing a uniform or insignia of an organisation guilty of crime against humanity”.
A PCS spokesperson last night told UnionNews: “This ill-informed ragbag of an MP has been on the wrong side of every debate and would be a laughing stock if this wasn’t such a serious issue.
“He needs to explain the inconsistencies in his letter to the Jewish Chronicle and the facts that emerged in court because, at the moment, it looks like he was simply distancing himself from the scandal.”
A Tory internal enquiry into the incident, published after the conclusions of French legal proceedings, confirmed Burley had purchased the costume for the party.
It said: “Mr Burley argued strongly that the choice of costume was inspired by the British comic association with aspects of the war. He categorically denies that there was any political motivation whatsoever.
“He argued that the purchase and wearing of the Nazi costume is legal in the UK and that he was unaware that wearing the costume could be an offence in France. Mr Burley is not a bad man, still less a racist or anti-Semite. However, his actions were stupid and offensive.”
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