A Conservative MP’s role in a Nazi-themed stag night has been questioned again after new evidence about the party was heard in a French court.
Aidan Burley offered an “unreserved, wholehearted and fulsome apology” after taking part in the event at a French ski resort two years ago.
The session included party-goers and friends of the MP dressing up as
SS officers, toasting the Third Reich and chanting the names of senior Nazis. It is a criminal offence in France to wear or exhibit Nazi uniforms and insignia.
Earlier this month, a tribunal in Albertville, near the Val Thorens resort, heard that Mr Burley had been best man for groom Mark Fournier, who faces a possible fine for wearing a Nazi uniform.
Mr Fournier’s lawyer argued that it was unfair that his client faced prosecution because it had been Mr Burley, he alleged, who bought the outfit.
Mr Burley said last week that he still “deeply regretted the incident”. He was sacked as a parliamentary private secretary following the party in December 2011.
Critics claimed there were now a number of inconsistencies in the Cannock Chase MP’s account of the night and that the evidence given in the French tribunal implicated him more deeply in the affair.
It remains unclear what Mr Burley’s level of involvement was in the preparations for the stag party, and at what point he excused himself from the proceedings.
In a letter of apology to the JC at the time, he said he wished he had left the party “as soon as I had realised what was happening”.
But days later he told his local newspaper he had “left the restaurant immediately when that inexcusable behaviour by other guests started”.
Reflecting on the situation, Mr Burley said: “I told the JC two years ago that I deeply regretted the incident and that remains the case. Now that the court case is reaching its conclusion I have nothing further to say on the matter.”
The Conservative Party launched its own investigation in the immediate aftermath of the incident, but has repeatedly refused to release details of its findings until the French authorities conclude their case.
The stag party was not the first controversial incident the 34-year-old former management consultant has been involved in.
Mr Burley was accused of acting disrepectfully during a visit to Auschwitz with school pupils. Students said he had been “texting and dozing” during a talk from a Holocaust survivor.