Nazi party Tory faces French criminal investigation

By Ian Dunt

The Tory MP who attended a Nazi-themed party at an Alpine ski resort could face jail after French authorities launched a criminal investigation.

Aidan Burley, who has already lost his job as a parliamentary private secretary, attended the party with 12 friends, who chanted Nazi slogans while drinking in a restaurant and a British-themed bar.

"They are launching a preliminary investigation and I understand I am not the focus of it," he commmented.

"I do not believe I have broken any French law and have distanced myself from the behaviour of other people on the stag."

Labour MP Ian Austin took to Twitter to demand David Cameron  withdraw the whip from Mr Burley.

Reports suggest French prosecuters will want to interview everyone at the party, including Mr Burley.

Julien Andrez, counsel for La Fondue restaurant where the party began, said they had filed a criminal complaint, as had Hamdy Boussouiba, director of French equality group SOS Racism.

Magistrates in Albertville received a complaint of "inciting racial hatred and glorifying crimes against humanity" and opened their enquiries.

The French penal code bans the wearing of Nazi uniforms, insignia or emblems, unless required for a film or theatrical performance.

Accountant Mark Fournier, a 34-year-old friend of Mr Burley, wore a Nazi SS uniform, while another guest toasted "the ideology and thought process of the Third Reich".

The group later chanted the names of senior Nazi party figures, including "Himmler" and "Eichmann", as well as "mein Fuhrer". Mein Fuhrer refers to Hitler, Heinrich Himmler founded the SS and Adolf Eichmann was instrumental in the Holocaust.

Mr Burley has already apologised for his actions but he refused to comment on whether he was the person who hired the Nazi uniform.

An internal Conservative investigation into his actions is ongoing.