Ashby councillor joins condemnation of Andrew Bridgen's decision to invite far right MEP to the UK

By Ashby Nub News Reporter

31st Jan 2024 | Local News

Carl Benfield. Image: Supplied
Carl Benfield. Image: Supplied

Ashby Town Councillor Carl Benfield has said he is 'appalled' by MP Andrew Bridgen's decision to invite a invite a representative of Germany's Alternative für Deutschland to the UK.

An article in the Guardian newspaper says a number of MPs have condemned plans by the MP for North West Leicestershire to host an MEP from the far-right party in parliament, weeks after its members were caught in discussion with neo-Nazis about carrying out mass deportations.

Mr Bridgen, who will stand as an Independent candidate at the next General Election, says that the meeting on Monday would be addressed by the AfD MEP Christine Anderson and two other individuals.

But Green Party councillor Benfield told Ashby Nub News: "I am deeply disappointed and frankly appalled to learn of Andrew Bridgen's decision to invite a representative of the AfD to our country.

"This far-right party stands for everything the Green Party opposes: intolerance, division, and backward-looking nationalism.

"Their rhetoric dehumanises refugees, targets Islam, scapegoats minorities, and denies the urgency of the climate crisis.

"Bridgen's invitation is not just tone-deaf, it's dangerous. By legitimising these views, he gives oxygen to a party that thrives on hate and exclusion.

North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen. Photo: YouTube

"This is not the message we want to send to our community, especially with rising levels of prejudice and discrimination."

Cllr Benfield claims that Mr Bridgen's views have been influenced by donations from British businessman Jeremy Hosking.

The Ashby councillor added: "I am concerned that the millions of pounds he has received in financial support from Jeremy Hosking is now influencing his actions. 

"This visit goes against the very values of our country which is diverse and built on inclusivity and respect.

"The AfD's ideology directly contradicts our core values and undermines the values of our nation as a whole.

"I urge Bridgen to reconsider this ill-advised invitation. Instead, let's focus on fostering international cooperation and building bridges, not walls.

"We need leaders who champion shared values like environmental responsibility, social justice, and human rights, not those who peddle fear and division.

Ashby de la Zouch Town Councillor Carl Benfield. Photo: Supplied

"The Green Party offers a genuine alternative. We stand for a sustainable future built on compassion, equality, and a thriving environment. We will work tirelessly to combat the far-right and their destructive ideologies, both here and abroad.

"If you share my concerns about Bridgen's actions, I urge you to join me in speaking out. Together, we can show that our community rejects intolerance and stands for a more hopeful future."

Mr Bridgen says that all MPs and peers had been invited and, he urged followers on the X social media platform to lobby their member of parliament to attend.

He told the Guardian that he was proud to speak alongside Anderson in defiance of what they saw as opposition to a "transfer of sovereignty" to the World Health Organization and "millions of Germans" supported her party.

The MP claimed that debate about the alleged harms of vaccines was also being "shut down in parliament" and that history "would not judge kindly" those who did not ask questions about the issue.


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