You have to feel for MPs. Despite a staffing budget of £137,200 some still struggle to keep their websites up to date.
Take poor Cannock Chase MP Aidan Burley. His website contains a section called “Aidan in the media”, which boasts press clippings from an exciting “selection of recent media appearances”:
With more press coverage than virtually any other Tory backbencher, however, here’s how the section might look if his staff had the time to read the Sunday papers:
Scrapbook is certainly encouraged to discover that his enthusiasm for fancy dress does not end with Nazi uniforms.
Nazi costume enthusiast Aidan Burley has told his local paper that he will sue anyone who says that he was sacked by David Cameron.
The Mail on Sunday had better lawyer up then:
It’s a wonder that he still has a reputation to defend.
- Scrapbook set legal process in train by tipping of SOS Racisme
- We were first to expose his inconsistent story in January 2012
- Burley complained to a pal: “They know everything about me”
Nazi party organiser and Tory MP for Cannock Chase, Aidan Burley is to step down at the next election.
His statement in full:
“It was a wonderful surprise to win the seat of Cannock Chase in May 2010 with the biggest swing in the country and it has been a huge privilege to represent the people of Cannock Chase in Parliament over the past four years. I am grateful to all those who voted for me and supported our campaign which led to our famous victory, winning a seat which had been held by Labour for 18 years. In particular I would like to thank my Agent Ian Collard, without whom none of this would have been possible, and who has been my rock of support since being selected as the Conservative Candidate in July 2008.
I am proud to have been able to deliver many positive things for our area since our election success, including spearheading the campaign to save Cannock Chase Hospital from the administrators axe, running four local Jobs Fayres to help get people back into work, and securing £35 million to electrify the Chase Line. That is what really matters to local people in their day to day lives.
After a difficult time I have decided to announce I will stand down at the next general election. I will continue to work for the people of Cannock Chase until that election, and look forward to supporting my successor, as soon as he or she is selected, to ensure that Labour have no chance of re-taking this seat.”
The case ended up in a French court in December, two years after Scrapbook tipped off anti-racism campaigners SOS Racisme about the vile antics to which Burley was a party. Mark Fournier, who was fined €2,500 in the case, says the SS uniform he wore to his stag party was hired for him by Burley.
For Burley, the war is over. We’ll be raising a glass in celebration…probably not toasting the Third Reich, though.
A senior Tory backbencher has dismissed Aidan Burley’s organising a Nazi-themed stag do as “hi-jinx“ before claiming the disgraced MP was a victim of the press. Incredibly, arch Thatcherite Sir Gerald Howarth told BBC Radio WM:
“We’ve all done it from time to time.”
Howarth, who chairs Conservative Way Forward and was a minister under Cameron until September 2012, then decided to invoke the, errr, Leveson Inquiry:
“I think that it’s a very nasty witch hunt by the Mail on Sunday. I think it’s utterly disreputable”
“This is why the Leveson Inquiry was so important”
Howarth is linked to Burley through his Cannock Chase seat, much of which Howarth represented in parliament until he lost to Labour in 1992.
Buying an SS uniform, travelling to an area occupied by the Nazis and toasting the Third Reich — surely a right of passage for any thirty-something member of parliament. They’ve all done it!
Fatefully throwing their lot in with their Nazi stag do-organising MP, Cannock Chase Conservative Association have released a statement claiming that Aidan Burley has “told the whole truth in every aspect” to an internal party inquiry — despite compelling evidence that he lied.
While the Mail on Sunday published pictures and audio transcripts which clearly contradict Burley’s statements to Conservative peer Lord Gold, the Tories’ leader on the local council said:
“We’ve never doubted Aidan’s version of events and fully stand behind him as our MP.”
And in astonishingly poor taste, their press release also accuses MP Ian Austin — whose Czech father escaped the fate of other family members at Treblinka extermination camp — of running a “smear campaign” against Burley:
“This political smear campaign against him by Ian Austin and other MPs who have no interest in Cannock must end – enough is enough.”
The news comes after Tory chairman Grant Shapps backed Burley on the World at One yesterday:
“Aidan Burley has quite rightly been subject to a report. It is absolutely right he has apologised for his involvement. It doesn’t represent where he stands. I think the matter is now closed.”
“It is a matter for the party but the inquiry has taken place some time ago. We consider the matter is now closed. He has apologised. It doesn’t benefit anyone to keep this running and running.”
With the charitable level of credulity offered to Burley, Shapps might as well have asked his fiancée to chair their so called “inquiry” — along with the Tory association which issued the statements above.
Officers of Cannock Chase Conservative Association will meet to discuss the future of Aidan Burley after the Mail on Sunday published yet more evidence of his blatant lies.
Shamed by their whitewash ‘investigation’ — which accepted everything Burley said at face value and did not contact the Mail on Sunday journalists present at the incident in France – Conservative HQ are desperate to let the scandal pass. With a majority of just 3,195 secured off the back of a massive swing, however, it looks as though the survival instincts of local Tories are kicking in.
Did we mention the association is chaired by Burley’s fiancée Cllr Jodie Jones (above)? This could yet turn into a bloodbath.
The Scrapbook archives are replete with evidence of Aidan Burley’s shifting version of events when it comes to the Nazi-themed stag party he organised in France. We proved (DETAILS) that he lied in his so-called ‘apology’ letter to the Jewish Chronicle …
… and tomorrow the Mail on Sunday splash on his dishonest claims that he left the stag do in disgust after chants of “Hitler! Hitler! Hitler!”.
As Scrapbook observed this morning, the Tories “report” into Aidan Burley purchasing an SS uniform in order to antagonise locals in an area occupied by the Nazis was a total whitewash — adroitly dodging the inconsistencies highlighted on this blog and elsewhere. The tenacious Ian Austin has written to author Lord Gold:
Dear Lord Gold,
I have read your report on Aidan Burley.
Its conclusions contradict the original reports of the evening.
- In relation to the Nazi-themed toast, you accept Mr Burley’s account saying: “he found the toast deeply offensive and that he did not participate in the toast and left the dinner immediately afterwards.
- In relation to the Nazi Salute, you accept his account and say: “this was only at the prompting of the Mail on Sunday journalist who was at the restaurant and who broke the story.”
- In relation to the chanting of the names of leading Nazis, you say you accept his account and say: “after the meal, in a pub, members of the group chanted the names of prominent Nazi figures. Mr Burley said that he was not present at that pub and at no point chanted names himself.”
This account completely contradicts the original Mail on Sunday Report which said:
- after the dinner, the group visited a bar where “they continued drinking, and their chanting became more frequent and uninhibited. It was hard to believe that an MP did nothing to halt this offensive behaviour.”
- in the pub “some of the group, many of whom adopted thick German accents, chanted: ‘Mein Fuhrer! Mein Fuhrer! Mein Fuhrer!’, ‘Himmler! Himmler! Himmler!’ and ‘Eichmann! Eichmann! Eichmann!’”
- the MP failed to object or leave: “Mr Burley, who was standing a few feet away, was not seen to object to this or any other behaviour that evening.”
- earlier, during the dinner, the paper said Mr Burley “sipped wine as one of the party goaded a French waiter, asking: ‘You are from Germany? No, you must be from Austria, then?’ and ‘Are you insulting his Reich?’”
- the behaviour took place throughout the evening, not just at the end of the dinner, reporting that one of the guests was “at the centre of the party and was frequently addressed by the others as ‘Himmler!’” and “At various points through the evening members of the group were chanting, typically two or three of them.”
- Mr Burley was “in the background” as some of the guests “agreed to be photographed on the steps and, without prompting, did Nazi salutes.”
MORE: Read Austin’s letter in full »