France probes Nazi-themed party attended by British MP

22nd December 2011, Comments 0 comments

French prosecutors said Thursday they had opened an investigation into a Nazi-themed party attended by British MP Aidan Burley that led to him losing his post as a parliamentary aide.

"A preliminary investigation started yesterday," local prosecutor Patrick Quincy told AFP, as authorities opened a case file on a drunken night out by a group of British men in the French Alpine ski resort of Val Thorens.

The investigation was launched following a complaint from French anti-racism group SOS Racisme. Quincy said he had been unaware of the incident before the complaint.

"I was not at all informed of this incident, which did not cause a fuss in Val Thorens," he said.

Burley, 32, was sacked from his role as a parliamentary private secretary to Transport Secretary Justine Greening, after pictures taken at the party earlier this month were published in the British press.

Burley, a lawmaker in Cameron's centre-right Conservatives, represents Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, central England.

British stag parties, held before a man gets married, are typically jovial, boozy nights out, often with the groom-to-be in embarrassing fancy dress.

Burley was photographed sitting next to the stag, who was wearing the uniform of a World War II-era Germany SS officer -- an apparent offence in France, where Nazi regalia is banned.

The Conservative Party said in a statement that Burley was removed from his post because of his "offensive and foolish" behaviour at the party.

Prime Minister David Cameron also asked for a full investigation.

Burley issued an "unreserved, wholehearted and fulsome apology" over the party, in a letter to the Jewish Chronicle newspaper.

"What was happening was wrong and I should have completely dissociated myself from it. I had a choice, and I made the wrong choice not to leave. I apologise for this error of judgment," he wrote.

© 2011 AFP

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