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Suella Braverman to appear at National Conservatism conference alongside Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orban

Suella Braverman will appear at a major Conservative conference alongside right-wing Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orban next month.

The former home secretary and Mr Orban have been unveiled as a keynote speakers at the National Conservatism (NatCon) conference in Belgium.

Mr Orban is widely seen as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest ally in the European Union and has been accused of launching a crackdown on gay rights and press freedom.

Ms Braverman faces a backlash over her decision to attend the NatCon conference in Brussels (PA Wire)
Ms Braverman faces a backlash over her decision to attend the NatCon conference in Brussels (PA Wire)

Ms Braverman, who was sacked by Rishi Sunak in November after accusing Metropolitan Police chiefs of bias in their handling of the pro-Palestine protests, risks a backlash for appearing alongside the Hungarian prime minister.

Mr Orban has previously spoken at the annual conference of the International Organisation of the Family (IOF), described by the Human Rights Campaign as a “dangerous group of activists spreading anti-LGBT rhetoric and promoting laws and policies that criminalise LGBT people”.

He has also implemented a Russian-style law forbidding discussions about LGBT+ issues in schools.

A Hungarian news outlet, Hungary Today, said the “woke British press” was already in “uproar” over Ms Braverman’s appearance at the conference.

The Liberal Democrats criticised Ms Braverman over her plans to “share a platform with a far-right authoritarian”.

Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Layla Moran said: “No politician should be sharing the stage with an ally of Vladimir Putin as he carries out his barbaric invasion of Ukraine.”

She added that it was “staggering” that a former home secretary “would think that this is the right thing to do”. “From cries of a conspiratorial deep state to sharing a platform with a far-right authoritarian, the Conservative Party has gone completely off the rails,” she added.

A backer of Ms Braverman dismissed the controversy around the conference, telling the Daily Telegraph: “MP speaks at same event as another EU leader.”

Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban has been accused of a clampdown on press freedom and LGBT+ rights (Reuters)
Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban has been accused of a clampdown on press freedom and LGBT+ rights (Reuters)

Ms Braverman used a speech at the last NatCon conference, in London last May, to set out her hardline vision for British Conservatism and railed against “experts and elites” amid claims of fresh government splits over immigration.

The then home secretary launched into a tirade against multiculturalism, “political correctness”, transgender people and identity politics.

She also said the government “needs to get overall immigration numbers down” and said some immigrants needed to “learn English and understand British social norms”.

The conference is the project of a think tank called the Edmund Burke Foundation, which declares its aim to be “strengthening the principles of national conservatism in Western countries”.

When Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski attended the conference in Rome in 2020 alongside Mr Orban he was forced to apologise by the party and faced calls to be kicked out.

A spokesman for the Conservatives said at the time: “Daniel Kawczynski has been formally warned that his attendance at this event was not acceptable, particularly in light of the views of some of those in attendance, which we utterly condemn, and that he is expected to hold himself to higher standards.”