John Mann takes on Hungarians

By Jennifer Lipman, February 1, 2013
John Mann MP (Photo: PA)

John Mann MP (Photo: PA)

The chair of the Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism is planning to take a cross-party delegation of MPs to Hungary later this year to challenge the rise of an extremist party in the country.

John Mann MP, who was in Budapest this week to meet government officials and opposition parliamentarians, said the intention was to “challenge the statements and acts of various members of Jobbik targeting Jews and Roma.” He spoke in the Hungarian parliament about the need to fight the threat to the freedom of minority communities.

Jobbik, which has 47 parliamentary seats, is known for its nationalistic stance. Its foreign affairs spokesman has openly questioned the Holocaust and the party has sought to build links with the Iranians.

Mr Mann was joined this week in Hungary by parliamentarians from Belgium, Italy, Austria, France and Israel to raise concerns over Jobbik and show solidarity with the Jewish community.

He said he did not meet Jobbik representatives this time because it was not “appropriate to give them a platform to excuse their behaviour around Holocaust Memorial Day”.

But he urged other British MPs to support him in “going to directly challenge them face to face” in the near future.

Members of the European Parliament are discussing whether to block EU funding to ultra-nationalist parties, such as Jobbik, the British National Party and France’s National Front. Last year, all the hard-right parties combined received 333,000 euros (£283,488) of EU funding.

The campaign to block the funds, initiated by the British movement Hope Not Hate, will need 189 MEPs’ votes to enforce the rule.

There are 22 Hungarian MEPs, three of whom come from the Jobbik party.

Last updated: 11:45am, February 1 2013