AN INQUIRY INTO a British Conservative MP organising a Nazi-themed stag party in France has found that he was “stupid and offensive” but is “not a bad man, still less a racist or anti-Semite’.
The internal inquiry by the Conservatives had been examining the case of Aidan Burley who was sacked as a ministerial aide in 2011 after he was pictured with a man wearing an SS uniform in the Alpine ski resort of Val Thoren in December 2011.
The party has today published its inquiry findings after the conclusion of legal proceedings in France.
It found that while Burley, an MP for Cannock Chase, “is not a bad man, still less a racist or anti-Semite” his actions were “unacceptable and offensive”.
Yesterday, a French court fined a British man, the party’s stag Mark Fournier, for wearing a Nazi uniform and insignia, which is outlawed in France.
A police tribunal in the French Alps town of Albertville upheld the prosecutor’s demand for a maximum fine of €1,500 and ordered Fournier to pay €1,000 in damages to the Association of Internal Deportees and Families, a civil complainant.
No political motivation
Burley acted as best man for Fournier, a close friend, and the report by the Conservatives found that he had purchased a Nazi uniform for the groom and that after the meal, Fournier’s brother gave a Nazi-themed toast.
According to BBC News, the report accepted that Burley had “found the toast deeply offensive” and had not been present for any Nazi-themed chants. He said that his choice of costume had been “inspired by the British comic association with aspects of the war”.
“He categorically denies that there was any political motivation whatsoever,” the report said. “We accept that there was no political motivation.”
Burley told his local newspaper, the Wolverhampton Express and Star, that he was not aware that a fancy dress outfit such as the one he purchased would be illegal in France and said it was “done in the spirit of mocking the Nazis” without any malicious intent or idealogical motive.
“I apologised then and I apologise again now for my role in it,” he said.
- additional reporting from AFP
Previously: UK MP sacked after attending “Nazi” stag party