Daily Mail


Outrage as Left-wing mayor orders police to shut down Conservati­sm conference

- From David Churchill in Brussels

A RIGHT-WING conference where Suella Braverman and Nigel Farage were speaking descended into chaos yesterday after a Belgian mayor ordered police to shut it down.

Officers stormed the opening day of the

National Conservati­sm conference brandishin­g a court order to ban it.

It was issued by Left-wing mayor Emir Kir, sparking accusation­s that he tried to shut down free speech and silence views he disagrees with.

In farcical and chaotic scenes just after 1pm, the police insisted that the Brussels event must cease despite Mr Farage being half way through his speech. He had been railing against the European Union, the bloc’s human rights charter, wokery and ‘cancel culture’.

Officers had a heated exchange with organisers just feet from where Mr Farage was speaking.

The former Brexit Party leader was allowed to finish and Mrs Braverman’s speech went ahead after organisers challenged officers and said they were taking the matter to court in a bid to overturn the order.

Police let the event continue but blocked anyone from entering.

It meant attendees and the media were effectivel­y locked in and some scheduled speakers could not take to the stage, giving their speeches outside in the street instead.

Rising Tory star Miriam Cates MP, co-chairman of the New Conservati­ves group, was forced to smuggle herself in via a side entrance wearing a headscarf so she could give her speech on the dangers that social media poses to young children.

Former Home Secretary Mrs Braverman used her address to urge Rishi Sunak to leave the European Convention on Human Rights. She said: ‘I wish the UK would do so now. Not only is it the right and necessary thing to do, it is also the politicall­y expedient thing to do.’

It was unclear last night whether the conference’s final day today will still be able to go ahead.

The fiasco sparked a furious backlash with even Mr Sunak wading into the row. The Prime Minister’s

‘Provocativ­e and discrimina­tory’

spokesman said he was ‘extremely disturbed’ by the apparent attempt to shut down free speech.

And last night even Belgium’s leader, Alexander de Croo, was critical. Taking aim at regional mayor Kir, the PM tweeted: ‘What happened is unacceptab­le. Municipal autonomy is a cornerston­e of our democracy but can never overrule the Belgian constituti­on guaranteei­ng the freedom of speech and peaceful assembly since 1830.’

The dozen or so officers who swooped said they needed to cancel the event to prevent clashes with Left-wing campaigner­s planning to protest outside.

The administra­tive order they were carrying, seen by the Mail, cited ‘provocativ­e and discrimina­tory’ views held by ‘traditiona­lists’ that are ‘deemed homophobic, non-respectful of people and minorities’.

The conference had already been moved twice after mayors put pressure on venues not to host it.

The Claridge venue, in the Saint-Josse-ten-Noode district of Brussels, was secured at the last minute. Mr Kir, the area’s mayor, said: ‘I issued an order to ban the National Conservati­sm conference event to guarantee public safety. The far Right is not welcome.’

WE know from a wealth of experience over the years that the political Left have little respect for freedom of speech.

The depth of their intoleranc­e was starkly laid bare during chilling scenes in Brussels yesterday. In an outrageous assault on democratic liberties, a socialist mayor in the city ordered the police to shut down the National Conservati­ve conference.

He claimed this was for ‘public safety’. But that was a transparen­tly risible excuse.

What the Brussels authoritie­s really objected to was Right-wing politician­s and thinkers from across Europe, including Suella Braverman and Nigel Farage, gathering to exchange ideas on immigratio­n, social media and the family. Their views are in no way extremist, but reflect those held by millions of ordinary people.

This is a grotesque irony. Only last year Brussels welcomed with open arms the mayor of Tehran, a man sanctioned by the EU for human rights violations.

This whole shameful fiasco surely proves that Britain was right to vote for Brexit. Why would we want to be part of a bloc whose liberal elites are so authoritar­ian and censorious they can’t brook dissent?

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