The furore around Aidan Burley’s Nazi-partying unfolded rather quickly. In an ultimately futile attempt to save his government career, the honourable member for Cannock Chase seemed to alter his story more times than a baby changes nappies.
With a criminal investigation by French police likely to take up to six months, here are two key questions les flics will be asking:
Did Burley leave when the “inexcusable behaviour” — including chanting the names of holocaust perpetrators — began?
Having taunted restaurant staff with Nazi jibes, journalists claim:
- they saw the group visit 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.”
- 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.”
- Burley was “in the background” as some of the guests “agreed to be photographed on the steps and, without prompting, did Nazi salutes.”
It seems Burley wanted to fight these claims — but he couldn’t manage to get his story straight:
- 11 December — Burley attempts to blames his pals, saying: “There was clearly inappropriate behaviour by some of the other guests, and I deeply regret that this happened”
- 13 December — Having presumably been briefed by Burley, his then-boss Justine Greening told MP Ian Austin that he “had left when this disgraceful behaviour occurred”.
- CHANGES HIS STORY: 15 December — But in a letter to the Jewish Chronicle Burley admitted: “I wish I had left as soon as I had realised what was happening.”
- CHANGES HIS STORY AGAIN: 21 December — Burley tells his local paper that “I left the restaurant immediately when that inexcusable behaviour by other guests started.”
Did he hire the SS uniform and swastika armband worn by his friend?
Burley’s pal Mark Fournier was pictured wearing the uniform of the SS, the primary organisation which carried out the holocaust. But despite offering his constituents what he claimed was an “unreserved, wholehearted and full apology,” Burley still not come clean about whether he hired the outfit worn by his friend.
A week after the scandal errupted, it was claimed:
“Despite frantic efforts by the MP to salvage his political career …his explanation started to unravel after The Mail on Sunday was told that Mr Burley had been the ‘driving force’ behind the SS officer’s outfit and paid for its hire.”
Perhaps David Cameron’s former policing adviser can enlighten us?