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Labour candidate gives Nazi salute as he lazily smears Tory allies in Europe

Picture 25 The image on the right is of Daniel Zeichner, the Labour candidate for Cambridge at the general election, speaking at a Cambridge Union debate earlier in the month.

In a debate about whether the Conservatives are ready to run the country again, he ventured onto the topic of the European Conservatives and Reformists - the grouping in the European Parliament which the British Conservatives helped establish after last year's European elections.

Criticising David Cameron for taking Conservative MEPs out of the federalist EPP group, Mr Zeichner continued:      

"You don't go and have an alliance with Angela  Merkel, you go and find some people in the Polish Law and Order Freedom Party - some people who think that the best thing to do on a Sunday morning is to go out and celebrate the achievements of the Waffen SS in the last war - a bit of this kind of thing [does Nazi salute], you know that's the kind of thing they like. Quite frankly it is shameful that a leader of a major British party in this country has got anything to do with these fascists across Europe."

For a start, there is no such party as the Law and Order Freedom Party in Poland (the Tory partners from Poland are the Law and Justice Party).

But for a parliamentary candidate to parade around the floor of the Cambridge Union giving a Nazi salute as he makes what is in any case a grotesque smear against Conservative allies is simply extraordinary, as is the suggestion that Tory partners in Brussels are "fascists". It is a lazy, unfounded attack and one that Mr Zeichner should withdraw.

The other members of the ECR group are in the political mainstream and if you don't believe my acceptance that the Law and Justice Party fits into that description, perhaps you'll take the word of the Chief Rabbi of Poland.

The ECR group leader, Michal Kamiński, also responded to the kinds of smears being perpetuated by Mr Zeichner and his ilk when I spoke to him at the Conservative Party Conference last year. Many of the MEPs from the ECR group spent much of their lives under Communist regimes, and the idea that they in any way support equally totalitarian Nazi or fascist idology is offensive in the extreme.

You can watch the Cambridge Union debate below, with the offending passage at 26 minutes and 55 seconds in.

6.45pm update:

I have been alerted to the following three links which set out the truth as regards the smear against Latvians in respect of their alleged "celebration" of the SS. The FT has covered it here whilst the Lativan Foreign Ministry has published statements here and here.

7.30pm I am aware that not everyone is able to view the comments below this thread. We are trying to fix this. 8.30pm Is now fixed.

Jonathan Isaby