Tory inquiry finds Nazi stag party MP 'stupid - but not a bad man'

Jan 22, 2014
Jack Bremer

Aidan Burley faces no further disciplinary action - but Labour MP calls on Cameron to withdraw the whip

AIDAN BURLEY, the Tory MP who organised a stag party in a French ski resort at which the groom wore a Nazi uniform and another guest made a Nazi toast, was "stupid and offensive" but is not racist or anti-Semitic, according to an internal Conservative Party inquiry.

The 35-year-old MP for Cannock Chase in Staffordshire is "not a bad man" according to the report, and no further disciplinary action is deemed necessary, given that he already lost his job as a ministerial aide when the incident was first reported in December 2011.

However, at least one Labour MP is calling on David Cameron to remove the Tory whip from Burley. Ian Austin, MP for Dudley North, has told Burley's constituency paper, the Express & Star: "I don't think he should be a Conservative MP. This wasn't a student prank. This was bunch of guys in their 30s, one of them an MP, in France where people remember the Nazis wearing those uniforms for real."

The Tory party decision to take the matter no further comes at a time when French footballer Nicolas Anelka faces a lengthy ban  for making the 'quenelle' gesture when celebrating a goal last month - in France, the gesture is seen as crude and anti-Semitic - and when the anti-Zionist comedian Dieudonne has been banned from giving public performances.

However, French police have decided not to prosecute Burley - even though the wearing of a Nazi uniform in public in France is illegal and it was Burley who acquired it for the 33-year-old groom Mark Fournier.

The police did prosecute Fournier - and yesterday he was given the maximum fine of E1,500 for wearing the uniform and ordered to pay a further E1,000  to an organisation representing the families of Holocaust victims.

Burley has always claimed that the theme of the stag party, held at La Fondue, a restaurant in the Alpine resort of Val Thorens, was inspired by the "British comic association" with aspects of World War Two.

Lord Gold, the Tory peer who led the internal inquiry, accepted Burley's assurances that there was "no political motivation whatsoever" in the choice of theme.

But as The Times reports, Lord Gold said Burley's actions threw into question his judgment and it was right that he had been sacked as parliamentary private secretary to the then transport secretary, Justine Greening.

Asked by the Express & Star how he came to acquire the Nazi uniform, Burley said last night: "It was a group endeavour. There were a number of people involved in where the stag party should be and that was covered in the report.

"The outfit was bought legally in London by me as best man and I take responsibility for that. We did not know that wearing a fancy dress outfit would be illegal in France. It's not an offence in this country.

"It was done in the spirit of mocking the Nazis. There was no malicious intent, no ideological motive, no desire to offend people. And that was borne out by the investigation by the French authorities."

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I am offend by the Nazi uniform I think it both racist and antisemtic this kind of behaviour should not be tolerated who ever does it and the MP should resign right now.