A Conservative MP is due to speak at a nationalist conference in Italy next week alongside a host of far-right politicians from across Europe including Matteo Salvini, Viktor Orbán, and Marion Maréchal.
Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski is listed as a “confirmed speaker” at the National Conservatism conference in Rome on Feb. 3.
Kawczynski declined multiple requests for comment. His office told BuzzFeed News they expected him to attend the event and said they did not think he would respond to our inquiries.
Other confirmed speakers at the conference include Salvini, the leader of Italy’s far-right Lega party, Hungarian prime minister Orbán, and French National Front politician Maréchal, the granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Also billed to speak are Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, and the Spanish MEP Hermann Tertsch, of far-right party Vox.
Ryszard Legutko, a Polish politician who Pink News reported had called anti-LGBT prejudice “fictitious”, marriage for same-sex couples a “destructive experiment”, and described LGBT rights as “a tyranny of the minority which has taken over the main institutions and main ideologies in the western world”, is also listed.
On the National Conservatism conference website, its organisers write: “The rise of nationalism in Europe and America, and throughout the democratic world, is seen by many as a threat to the post-War liberal order.
“But others regard the renewed emphasis on patriotism and the freedom of nations as a continuation of the best political traditions of the last century. So is the new national conservatism a menace or is it — on the contrary — a virtue?”
They say their aim is to “recover and reconsolidate the rich tradition of national conservative thought as an intellectually serious alternative to the excesses of purist libertarianism, and in stark opposition to political theories grounded in race”.
Kawczynski has long been a controversial figure in the Conservative party. In 2016, he attracted criticism for appearing on Russia Today, tweeting that he was “Increasingly concerned about anti Russian hysteria in Commons we need more dialogue”.
He was also the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Saudi Arabia and was condemned for accepting a trip worth £5,000 to the country in 2009, paid for by the Saudi government.