MP Aidan Burley was today embroiled in another row over his purchase of a Nazi uniform for a stag party – as his fiancee revealed she had resigned as chairman of the Conservative association that backed him.
Jodie Jones claimed she stood down from her post as chairman of Cannock Chase Conservative Association before a crucial meeting last week to discuss Mr Burley’s conduct at a stag party more than two years ago.
And the MP is furious after pictures of Miss Jones from her time as a student, on nights out and wearing fancy dress, were published in the Mail on Sunday alongside a story raising questions over his response to a Tory party inquiry.
Mr Burley said on Twitter:
It is only the second time he has commented on the row since the groom who wore the Nazi uniform purchased by him on a stag do was fined by a French court just over a week ago.
The row has rumbled on for so long because the Conservative party suppressed the results of inquiry by Lord David Gold for two years while it waited for the French authorities to conclude the prosecution of groom Mark Fournier, because wearing a Nazi uniform is illegal in France.
Mr Burley, aged 35, has previously admitted to the Express & Star that he bought the uniform for Mr Fournier but told the inquiry he was not present when guests chanted the names of Hitler and Himmler in a pub in the French ski resort of Val Thorens in December 2011.
The Tory party has branded him ‘stupid and offensive’ but not racist or anti-semitic, however Dudley North Labour MP Ian Austin has demanded that the party remove the whip from Mr Burley. The Tories are not prepared to re-open the investigation, despite the Mail on Sunday publishing pictures that they say put Mr Burley at the pub at the time of the chanting.
His local association, which Miss Jones used to chair, has backed Mr Burley. But she insists she had no involvement in the meeting.
The 25-year-old declined to comment when asked by the Express & Star at the weekend if she had stood down. Asked if she was able to comment, she replied via text message: “Nope!”
But in response to the Mail on Sunday story, which suggested she was on the committee that cleared Mr Burley, she said: “This is a blatant lie, as I resigned prior to any association discussions about Aidan. Pathetic.”
And she accused Mr Austin of a ‘smear campaign’ against Mr Burley, claiming her parents have been ‘harassed’ in their home.
Mr Austin tweeted:
Easy way for @AidanBurleyMP to stop press writing about Nazi-themed party. Tell the truth about his role & apologise http://t.co/OxHHzcYZLE— Ian Austin (@IanAustinMP) February 2, 2014