By Tim Montgomerie
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Aidan Burley MP has been sacked as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Transport Secretary, Justine Greening, after Downing Street learnt that he had personally hired the SS uniform that had been worn at a stag party that he attended. The additional revelations appear in the Mail on Sunday. Number 10 commented:
"Aidan Burley has behaved in a manner which is offensive and foolish. That is why he is being removed from his post as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) at the Department for Transport. In light of information received, the Prime Minister has asked for a fuller investigation into the matter to be set up and to report to him."
The story first broke last week and Downing Street took no action. Mr Aidan had apologised profusely in a letter to the Jewish Chronicle in which he cited support from Stuart Polak of Conservative Friends of Israel:
"I have worked closely and travelled to Israel with Aidan Burley. I know him well and he does not have an antisemitic bone in his body. The actions of his friends in France were unacceptable and inexcusable. Aidan should not have been associated with this. However, Aidan is both a friend of Israel and a friend of the Jewish community."
Others had been less sympathetic. The Jewish Board of Deputies was "alarmed" that Mr Burley had not confronted his fellow party-goer and the Holocaust Education Trust commented that "it should be obvious to anyone that this kind of shameful behaviour represents an appalling insult, both to those who survived the Holocaust and to those who fought to defeat Fascism in Europe." Martin Bright made the case for Aidan Burley's sacking on his Spectator blog.
This may be a sad Christmas for Mr Burley but his career can start again. Unlike Ed Balls, at least he didn't actually wear a Nazi costume himself.