Boris Johnson: Remove the whip from Daniel Kawczynski MP

The Jewish Labour Movement, our Parliamentary Chair Margaret Hodge MP and Alex Sobel MP for Leeds North West have written to Mark Spencer, the Conservative Chief Whip to call for Boris Johnson to remove the whip from Daniel Kawczynski, the Conservative MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham. 

We are writing to you to ask that the whip is withdrawn from Daniel Kawczynski, the Conservative MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham. 

Today Mr Kawczynski is speaking at the National Conservatism conference in Rome. In doing so, he is sharing a platform with a number of far-right European politicians who have made deeply offensive and dangerous comments and engaged in a sort of politics that should have no place in a tolerant and demoractic society. Alongside Mr Kawczynski, speakers include:

  • Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s far-right Prime Minister who, amongst many things, has engaged in antisemitism through his depiction of George Soros as a powerful Jewish financier and sought to re-write Hungary’s role in the Holocaust. Orbán has spent his tenure dismantling Hungary’s democracy and vilifying Muslims and immigrants. Most recently his government has participated in a campaign of targeted harassment against the Marom, a Masorti Jewish community in Budapest.
  • Ryszard Legutko, the Polish Law and Justice MEP, who described homophobia as “fictitious”, same-sex marriage as a “destructive experiment” and LGBT+ rights as “a tyranny of the minority which has taken over the main institutions and main ideologies in the western world”.
  • Hermann Tertsch, a Vox MEP, who argued that the Spanish dictator Fransciso Franco was not a fascist and praised what he did for Catalonia.
  • Marion Maréchal, member of Front National, who openly engages in islamophobic rhetoric and recently stated that “France is in the process of passing from the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church to the little niece of Islam”.
  • Giorgia Meloni, leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party. In 2016 when running to the Mayor of Rome she had pledged to name a street after Giorgio Almirante, who was editor of the anti-Semitic journal “defence of the Race” and Leader of the post war neo-fascist movement in Italy.

The Jewish Labour Movement has consistently spoken against the platforms that have been shared by Jeremy Corbyn with figures who hold dangerous and often antisemitic or homophobic views. We have written to Labour’s Chief Whip, asking for the whip to be withdrawn from Labour MPs who have promoted antisemitic views. We cannot be silent when a Conservative MP uncritically shares a platform with those on the far-right who promote equally hateful opinions. 

Many Conservative MPs have used the fact that Corbyn willingly met and associated with these people to argue that the Conservative Party takes a stronger stance against extremism. The Conservative Party now has a choice. It can demonstrate that there are lines that should not be crossed by Conservative MPs. This is an opportunity for the Conservative Party to follow through and demonstrate that it does not tolerate its elected representatives sharing platforms with figures who represent far-right parties and pose a threat to minority groups. 

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