News broke about about Aiden Burley MP, his behaviour and that of his friends at a party in France.
John Mann MP, chair of the APPG Against Antisemitism said at the time ”his failure to challenge such behaviour is appalling, he should be ashamed”. He has subsequently welcomed the French prosecutors investigation into the Nazi-themed stag party and said: “its illegal to wear Nazi uniforms in France due to the sentiments that such behaviour invokes and its therefore entirely appropriate that the French authorities investigate this. But if it’s true that Mr Burley is the person who hired the Nazi uniforms then he should be suspended from the Conservative Party”. These comments were picked up in an article by politics home. John has also contributed a longer piece to the Harrys Place blog, available as a cross-post on our site here.
The Jewish Chronicle’s Martin Bright published the following article on the matter:
Nazi stag MP dismissed from job
The Conservative MP who attended a Nazi-themed stag celebration at a French ski resort has been sacked from his post as a ministerial aide after further revelations about his behaviour.
David Cameron intervened directly to remove 32-year-old Aiden Burley from his job as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Transport Secretary Justine Greening, after the Mail on Sunday reported that the Cannock Chase MP had hired the Nazi uniform worn by his friend Mark Fournier. Guests at the event toasted the Third Reich and chanted the names of senior Nazis.
The MP initially found comfort in backing from Conservative Friends of Israel, which said Mr Burley “didn’t have an antisemitic bone in his body”. He also made a direct apology to the readers of the JC: “On reflection, I wish I had left as soon as I had realised what was happening…I had a choice, and I made the wrong choice NOT to leave. I apologise for this error of judgement.” However, his apology failed to save his career. A Downing Street spokesman said: “Aiden Burley has behaved in a manner which is offensive and foolish, That is why he is being removed from his post as PPS at the Department for Transport.”
The spokesman added: ‘In light of information received, the Prime Minister has asked for a fuller investigation into the matter to be set up and to report to him.” But John Woodcock MP, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, said: “It speaks volumes about David Cameron’s judgement that he dithered for a week before taking action.”
The All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism is to run seminars to inform MPs about anti-Jewish hate speech. Its chair, Labour MP John Mann, said the Burley affair and recent comments by Labour MP Paul Flynn about the UK’s first Jewish ambassador to Israel, showed the need for a greater understanding of antisemitic discourse among mainstream politicians. The seminars will be run in partnership with the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck College, London.
NB: Although the JC article neglected to mention it, these sessions will also be held in partnership with the Community Security Trust, CST