Conservative parliamentarian Daniel Kawczysnki received a “formal warning” from the Conservative Party after a social media campaign to “cancel” him for giving a speech at a conservative conference attended by Viktor Orbán and Matteo Salvini.
National Conservatism conferences are organised by Israeli scholar Yoram Hazony, the President of the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem and Chairman of the Edmund Burke Foundation who authored The Virute of Nationalism.
Kawczynski’s decision to appear at the Israeli’s latest event in Rome, Italy, resulted in a concerted effort to have him suspended from the Conservative Party seemingly driven by BuzzFeed UK political correspondent Alex Wickham, who once spearheaded a similar campaign against the late conservative philosopher Sir Roger Scruton.
Kawczysnki was also condemned by the Jewish Labour Movement — a group associated with the Labour Party which is the Conservative Party’s main opposition — and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which appeared particularly agitated with the fact that the Tory MP had shared a platform with Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán and Italy’s former deputy prime minister and current election frontrunner, Matteo Salvini.
Despite accusations of antisemitism against the European leaders from some quarters, however, they both also enjoy significant support from Jewish leaders, with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu having praised Orbán and Hungary for being “at the forefront” of the fight against antisemitism, and the World Jewish Congress having commended his government for its action on the issue at the United Nations.
Prime Minister Netanyahu also praised Matteo Salvini during his time in office, calling him a “great friend of Israel”.
Despite this — and despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson having himself congratulated Orbán on his third consecutive election victory in 2018 — Conservative Central Headquarters (CCHQ) has opted to appease BuzzFeed and the Guardian, which also took up the torch against Kawzcyski, issuing him a “formal warning” and claiming he has apologised for his action.
“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,” a spokesman said.
Kawczynski’s full speech to the National Conservatism conference has now emerged online, however, and does not appear to contain anything controversial, offering a fairly milquetoast take on Brexit and the European Union’s centralising ambitions.
“We joined the European Economic Community in 1972, and the vast majority of British people at that time thought they were joining a trading club… but over the last 48 years there has been increasing federalisation impinging on our sovereignty and our democratic process,” the Polish-born MP began — an assessment that would not look out of place in one of Boris Johnson’s own speeches.
He recalled how the Tories had tried to avoid Brexit for years, but the British people’s patience with the bloc ran out after years of EU judges ruling against Britain, vast transfers of wealth to Brussels, and open borders, followed by David Cameron’s failure to reach a meaningfully renegotiated settlement ahead of the 2016 referendum — again, perfectly standard talking points among mainstream eurosceptics.
He concluded with one intriguing point, however, that “as the first-ever Polish-born British Member of Parliament, we will take any Polish government to court if they try to ditch the Polish currency without a referendum.”
“If you ditch your currency, ladies and gentlemen, it’s going to be much more difficult for future generations to make the decision that [the British] have done,” he warned.
Representatives of Poland’s governing Law and Justice Party (PiS), which is eurosceptic but not in favour of a so-called “Polexit” or “Poleout”, were also in attendance at the conference.
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