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Chase MP Aidan Burley was 'stupid and offensive' but is 'not a bad man', says report into Nazi-themed stag party

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 22, 2014

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CALLS for Chase MP Aidan Burley to resign were renewed following report by the Conservative Party which confirmed he bought the nazi-uniform worn by a close friend at a controversial stag party in France in December 2011.

The Gold Report was released following the conclusion of the trial of Mark Fournier, 36, who was fined around £2,000 for dressing as an SS officer during his bachelor party in the Alpine Ski Resort of Val Thorens.

The report said Mr Burley’s actions as best man of Mr Fournier, in purchasing the outfit and attending the party, were ‘stupid and offensive’ but concludes he ‘is not a bad man, still less a racist or anti-Semite’.

The report says Mr Burley argued the costume choice was inspired by ‘the British comic association with aspects of the war’ and was unaware wearing the costume could be an offence in France.

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“He categorically denies that there was any political motivation whatsoever.

“However, we conclude that as a Member of Parliament, Mr Burley should have considered his actions much more carefully.

It says by participating in the party, Mr Burley ‘demonstrated considerable naivety’ and that he should have been more aware of the offence he would cause.

Mr Burley told the committee compiling the report, Mr Fournier’s brother had been drinking all day and was ‘clearly drunk’ when he made a ‘nazi-themed toast’ during the party.

“We accept what Mr Burley says, that he found the toast offensive and that he left immediately afterwards, but we conclude that he did not make his offence explicitly clear,” it states. “Given the standards expected of a Member of Parliament, he should have done so.

The report concludes by saying Mr Burley’s conduct caused ‘deep offence’ and he acted in an ‘unacceptable and offensive way’

“He now recognises and accepts this,” he said. “He has already been sacked as a Parliamentary Private Secretary.

“He and his family have been subjected to massive press interest and one of the attendees at the party has lost his job as a result.”

The report then recommends through the Holocaust Memorial Educational Trust, Mr Burley arrange a visit to Auschwitz to ‘more profoundly appreciate the offence caused’.

Following publication of the report, Janos Toth, prospective parliamentary candidate for Cannock Chase, said it was time Mr Burley to resign.

“It is now clear that he was actually at the centre of events,” he said. “Burley should consider his position, finally do the right thing and go.

“Cannock Chase Labour Party are on by-election alert.”

Ian Austin, MP for Dudley North joined Mr Toth in condemning Mr Burleys’s behaviour and called for the Tory Party to remove the whip from the MP.

“His behaviour was an absolute disgrace and he’s admitted bringing shame on his constituency,” he said. “They shouldn’t be brushing it under the carpet. They should be removing the whip and kicking him out.”

Mr Burley was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

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