Nazi stag MP Aidan Burley 'caused deep offence', report finds
- 22 January 2014
- From the section UK Politics
MP Aidan Burley "caused deep offence" by organising a Nazi-themed stag party, an internal Conservative Party investigation has said.
Mr Burley bought a Nazi uniform for the groom to wear on the last night of the four-day trip to a French ski resort.
He was sacked as a ministerial aide when the incident came to light.
The Tory report - delayed while the French authorities considered legal action - found he was "not a bad man" but had acted in an "unacceptable" way.
It said Mr Burley, the MP for Cannock Chase since 2010, is not a "racist or anti-Semite" and had since apologised for his behaviour.
The French authorities decided not to proceed with legal action.
Mr Burley had organised a four-day ski trip to Val Thorens in the French Alps in December 2011, acting in his role as best man for a close friend.
During the meal on the last night of the trip, the groom wore a Nazi uniform - which had been purchased for him by the MP.
After the meal, the groom's brother gave a Nazi-themed toast, the report said.
'Choice of costume'
The groom later gave a Nazi salute when prompted by a Mail on Sunday journalist present at the restaurant, it continued.
Attendees also reportedly chanted the names of prominent Nazi figures.
The report accepted that Mr Burley had "found the toast deeply offensive", and had not been present during any Nazi-themed chanting.
"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," it said.
"We accept that there was no political motivation."
But it added: "We conclude that he did not make his offence explicitly clear. Given the standards expected of a Member of Parliament, he should have done so.
"It was appropriate for him to be sacked and reprimanded as recognition of the offence that he has caused as a Conservative Member of Parliament," the report said.
"His actions were stupid and offensive, and the conclusions and recommendations reflect that."
"What he did was wrong," the Conservative spokesman said, but he had "since apologised publicly and sought to make amends, including by visiting Auschwitz".
Mr Burley told the Wolverhampton Express and Star that he hoped he could now put the incident "behind him".
"I apologised then and I apologise again now for my role in it," he said.
He added: "We did not know that wearing a fancy dress outfit would be illegal in France. It was done in the spirit of mocking the Nazis. There was no malicious intent, no ideological motive, no desire to offend people."
On why details of the report have not been released until now, the Conservative Party spokesman explained: "Publication of the report was held back pending the conclusion of investigations by the French authorities.
"The French authorities ruled last year that they would not take any legal action against Mr Burley."
Labour MP Ian Austin said "no-one should accept" the report's conclusion, saying it was not some sort of "Allo Allo style jokes.... his behaviour was an absolute disgrace and he's admitted bringing shame on his constituency".
"They shouldn't be brushing it under the carpet. They should be removing the whip and kicking him out."