The Tories just got a ‘thank you’ note from the last person you’d want one from

Viktor Orbán

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has sent Conservative MEPs a letter thanking them for voting against the censure of his far-right government.

And while the Tories are usually happy to share the little gratitude they receive, they probably didn’t want this particular ‘thank you’ note to go public.

The worst kind of ‘thank you’

Yahoo Finance broke the story on Monday 24 September. It discovered that Tory MEPs had received the same letter Orbán sent to Nicolas Bay of France’s far-right National Front (now ‘National Rally‘), thanking him for support in the European parliament:

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The parliament was voting on whether Orbán’s party Fidesz was at “clear risk of a serious breach of the EU founding values”. MEPs approved a proposal to push ahead with sanctions against his government by 448 votes to 197.

Orbán later wrote to all those who supported him:

I would like to express my gratitude for your participation and contribution at the plenary debate and during the vote on the report on the situation in Hungary…

I appreciate the support you’ve shown towards national sovereignty and solidarity during the vote.

Those thanks extended to the huge majority of Conservative MEPs that backed him.

Love letter upset

Twitter was quick to hit out at the Conservatives for apparently standing in “solidarity” with a government accused of promoting Islamophobiaantisemitism, and cutting back press freedom:

Labour MEP Paul Brennan, meanwhile, wondered if he would also be receiving a note for opposing Orbán’s government:

But so far, it looks like the Hungarian leader has only written to his friends.

Tory cynicism

For many on Twitter, the letter highlighted the British government’s glaring hypocrisy on antisemitism.

Apparently, people don’t like it when Tories accuse their opponents of failing to tackle racism while receiving far-right thank you notes:

https://twitter.com/eileenbgibson/status/1044197354247770112

Others pointed to the fact that the letter might have had something to do with a post-Brexit trade deal:

Where’s the mainstream media?

Twitter users also called attention to the unbalanced media focus on Labour’s antisemitism row as the Tories cosy up to an alleged antisemite.

And some were sceptical that anything would change this time around:

Double standards

The BBC is still asking Jeremy Corbyn if he’s an antisemite. This is while Tory MEPs are receiving fan mail from Viktor Orbán, one of Europe’s most dangerous far-right leaders. And no matter how antisemitic and racist Orbán’s campaigns are, Conservatives including Michael Gove are still refusing to condemn him outright.

It’s almost as if the Tories didn’t really have that much interest in standing up to the far right.

Maybe someone should send them a letter about it.

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