Gerald Howarth with Margaret Thatcher

A senior Tory backbencher has dismissed Aidan Burley’s organising a Nazi-themed stag do as “high jinks 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!

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