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Tories hand formal warning to MP Daniel Kawczynski for attending conference with far-right politicians

2 min read

The Conservative Party have handed Daniel Kawczynski a formal warning after he came under fire for attending a conference with far-right political figures.

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski has been forced to apologise for attending a conference alongside nationalist leaders in Italy earlier this week after party bosses branded his behaviour "unacceptable".

The Tory MP had previously dimissed criticism as "hysterical", saying discussions with Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban represented "serious ideas and concerns, some of which are shared by many citizens of the UK".

Mr Orban has been Hungary's Prime Minister since 2010, and has been accused of promoting anti-semitic conspiracy theories and far-right tropes.

But Mr Kawczynski's decision came under fire from Muslim and Jewish groups, with Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, saying the party ran the "serious risk of the public assuming thay they share his views" unless they disciplined him.

“We condemn the decision by Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski to speak at a conference alongside some of Europe’s most notorious far-right politicians," she added.

"Mr Kawczynski’s defence, that ‘it is only common sense to talk with parties and politicians that are either leading theirrespective countries, or will perhaps take power in the next few years’, is a specious one, for the simple reason that the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham is not any sort of government representative."

Meanwhile, former Tory chairman Lord Pickles, who serves as the government's special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, said Mr Kawczynski had brought "comfort" to "racists and extremism" as he claimed he had "let fellow Conservatives down".

Labour Shadow Communities Secretary Andrew Gwynne said: "In refusing to suspend Daniel Kawczynski, the Conservatives are condoning his decision to stand shoulder to shoulder with fascists and legitimising the islamophobia, anti-semitism and homophobia they promote." 

Following the criticism, the party confirmed in a statement on Thursday they had issued the backbench MP with a formal warning.

"Daniel Kawczynski has been formally warned that his attendance at this event was not acceptable, particularly in light of the views of some of those in attendance, which we utterly condemn, and that he is expected to hold himself to higher standards," a spokesperson said.

"Daniel has accepted this and apologised."

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