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Polish President, ally of David Cameron, feared dead in plane crash

Lech "President Lech Kaczynski was travelling with his wife from Warsaw to Smolensk airport, 220 miles southwest of Moscow," according to The Telegraph.

The Law and Justice Party of Mr Kaczynski are the allies of Tory MEPs in the European Parliament.

10am: William Hague has Tweeted:

Screen shot 2010-04-10 at 09.56.59

According to the BBC News the plane was full, carrying 125 people. It is feared that none have survived the crash.

Tim Montgomerie

11.30am Commenting on the death this morning of President Kaczynski, his wife, and many Polish officials and dignitaries, Timothy Kirkhope MEP, Deputy Chairman and Jan Zahradil MEP, Vice-President of the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament said:

"We are deeply shocked and saddened to hear of this tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of President Kaczynski and those onboard the plane, and to the Polish people who mourn the loss of so many public servants and dignitaries. The Polish people have lost a great man who played a pivotal role in the nation's history, helping to bring an end to the dark days of Communism. He played a major part in the post-Communist reconstruction of democracy and freedom in Poland. While we mourn his loss, we also celebrate his remarkable achievements during a lifetime of service to his nation."

Noon: From Dan Hannan MEP's blog;

"The reports in Britain will no doubt describe President Kaczyński as “a controversial figure” (the BBC has already started). Leftists resented him for pursuing a policy of lustration: that is, of requiring public servants to declare whether they had played a role in the previous Communist regime. These critics applauded a similar policy when it was imposed on former fascist countries after 1945 and, indeed, generally support the Spanish government in its attempts to reopen what happened under Franco but, for whatever reason, consider it tasteless to apply the same standard to former Communists. Lech Kaczyński was a patriot: a man who never collaborated with the dictators or accepted the occupation of his country by the Red Army. Some Polish politicians, who had made occasional compromises – muting their criticism in return for being allowed to take up foreign postings, for example – found his purism uncomfortable. But ordinary Poles admired Kaczyński, and elected him with a handsome majority."

1.30pm David Cameron's statement:

"Well its absolutely tragic news this and everyone’s first thoughts will be with the family and the friends of all those who died in what seems to have been absolutely tragic event. I knew President Kaczynski and he was a very brave, Polish patriot, someone who stood up for freedom, who suffered hugely under communism but always stood up for his beliefs and for his great faith in his country. And it’s a huge loss it’s a very black day for Poland indeed and we must be thinking of all those who’ve suffered in this terrible event.”


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