Under-fire Tory MP Aidan Burley, whose majority of 3,195 in Cannock Chase is looking increasingly perilous following the Mail on Sunday’s campaign to force him out in the wake of that Nazi-themed stag party in the French alpine resort of Val Thorens – he supplied the SS uniform for his pal Mark Fournier – has passed severely adverse comment on his press treatment. So has his partner.
“Simon Walters had to be escorted away by Police on Thursday to stop him harassing me ... another MoS journo tricked a blind man into letting him into a members’ club in Cannock to try to speak to me. Had to be forcibly removed ... they’re hounding my family & friends and harassing members of the public”. She was particularly severe on Labour MP Ian Austin.
“So your smear campaign justifies my parents being harassed in their home does it? He’s told the truth, they just don’t like it. Pathetic, you’re trying to justify this kind of behaviour by the press regardless”. Austin’s father got out of what was then Czechoslovakia. Many of his relatives did not: they got only as far as the death camp at Treblinka. Small wonder he is taking an interest.
Burley himself got no sympathy when he fumed “MoS today sets a new level of despicable journalism. Gutter press personified. The paper with no shame”. The response was swift: “Resign ... Beats buying a Nazi costume then lying about it ... you didn’t speak out when they wrote about Ralph Miliband ... you are finished in Cannock ... the MP with no shame”. And, as the man said, there’s more.
“Do Cannock a favour and resign ... you are a complete toerag ... you lied to your party, constituents and the Jewish Chronicle ... You are a despicable liar”. And what Burley and Ms Jones do not seem to have noticed is that nothing from Walters’ trip to the constituency appears to have yet found its way into the MoS. That means there is more to come next weekend.
What the next assault will contain is anyone’s guess, but there are plenty more Jewish voices who will not hesitate to condemn Burley’s antics, and his lack of candour. And it is understandable that his fiancée is upset at the MoS’ approach, but this is the kind of behaviour her partner does not condemn when it happens to someone else. He has a choice: go now or go next year.
Or he can face the electorate and get thrown out. It’s game over in any case.