Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski reprimanded but avoids suspension for conference talk alongside far-right figures

Aubrey Allegretti, political reporter
·2-min read

A Tory MP who spoke alongside far-right politicians at a conference has been reprimanded by his party but avoided a suspension.

Daniel Kawczynski was widely condemned for talking at the National Conservatism event in Rome.

He was part of a line-up that included Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, a Polish MEP who reportedly described homophobia as a "totally fictitious problem" and Marion Marechal, the niece of French far-right leader Marine Le Pen who also called France "the little niece of Islam".

Mr Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, was condemned by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the government's envoy for post-Holocaust issues.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said the Tories' claim of not tolerating racism "is truly farcical" and said Mr Kawczynski should not be allowed to represent the party in parliament anymore.

But the Conservatives defied the call and issued a statement saying: "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."

"Daniel has accepted this and apologised."

Labour's shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne criticised Mr Kawczynski for previously calling critics "hysterical" and for failing to make a public apology.

"In refusing to suspend Daniel Kawczynski, the Conservatives are condoning his decision to stand shoulder to shoulder with fascists and legitimising the Islamophobia, antisemitism and homophobia they promote," Mr Gwynne added.

Mr Kawczynski has defended speaking at the conference, saying others who appeared are "not to everyone's tastes" but "they represent serious ideas and concerns, some of which are shared by many citizens of the UK".

He added that Mr Orban and Italy's former deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini "have certainly proved electorally attractive in their own countries and have every right to speak at a conference on the subject of national sovereignty, the very thing they have pledged to defend and which accounts for their popularity with voters".