The Speaker
Wednesday, 17 July 2024 – 19:53

The UK’s Refusal to Back Censure on Hungary’s Orban

The UK has recently voted to not censure Hungary’s authoritarian leader Mr Orban. Orban has referred to migrants as poison, Muslim’s invaders and has made it illegal for lawyers to take the case of any asylum seeker. Positively antisemitic and actively criticises the press, NGO’s and wider international organisations.

Should Theresa May have condemned Hungary’s government at the European Parliament as Labour MP Jon Trickett and Shadow Cabinet Office minister, urged the Prime Minister to do exactly that?

The environment secretary, Michael Gove claimed on the Andrew Marr show that this is simply not the case, through principle alone, many MEP’s believe it is wrong to interfere in the internal democracy of another state when Britain has had a history to ‘divide and rule’.

The UK was one of one-third of states who chose not to back the censure, yet the censure did pass through the European Parliament, which stands accused of attacks on minorities and the rule of law.

Mr Orban presents himself as the defender of Hungary and Europe against Muslim migrants but criticised of his authoritarian regime because he’s known for comments that can be defined as racist and discriminatory, even telling Hungarian TV ‘We will never allow Hungary to become a target country for immigrants.’

Who is Viktor Orban?

Mr Orban, although criticised, is the elected Prime Minister of Hungary and leader of the Fidesz party, winning almost two-thirds of parliamentary seats. As aforementioned, Orban’s government is hard line right wing with an extreme anti-immigration stance. As well as, recently, there have been reports of widespread corruption in the courts and electoral system.

Since the European Parliament has voted to act on censures for Orban, the next decision is to weigh the cost of sanctioning Hungary and which sanctions can be imposed and maintained. Whilst further meetings are in the pipeline, Trickett says ‘Theresa May should do what Gove failed to do and condemn the Hungarian government.’

Whilst deeper reports suggest the European Parliament will pursue ‘unprecedented disciplinary action against Hungary’ due to breaches in the EU’s core values, which have been heavily denied, the most costly sanction due to its direct impact to Hungary, the suspension of Hungary’s voting rights, is not being proposed.

Affiliated organisations such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said it was disappointed Conservative MEP’s have ‘[defended]’ Hungary whilst others question the motives behind such an odd vote. Questioning if Theresa May was seeking support from Hungary amidst Brexit negotiations, which has come to receive multiple responses from the conservative MEP’s and colleagues as ‘a really distressing thing to happen and shameful’ to the stressed message; Tory MEP’s votes should not be seen as a backing of Mr Orban.


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