The Hungarian prime minister’s visit to Downing Street on Friday undermines the values the UK government says it wants to defend, Labour has said.
Ahead of Viktor Orban’s arrival in the UK on May 28th, shadow minister for foreign affairs Lisa Nandy has called out the man Johnson is “welcoming into Downing Street”.
She referred to the time when Orban labelled refugees as “Muslim invaders” and called out the Hungarian prime minister’s “antisemitic tropes” used in his political campaigns.
She referred in particular to Orban reviving the government’s anti-Soros campaign.
Multiculturalism is an “illusion”
Orban, who refused to take part in the EU’s resettlement programme and has regularly criticised the EU’s refugee policies, also said multiculturalism is “only an illusion”.
He has also “clamped down on academic freedom” according to Nandy, who criticised the seizure of control of Hungarian state-run universities.
Last month, the Hungarian government passed a law transferring control of the country’s 11 main state universities to foundations likely to be run by Orban’s allies. The party has already enforced control over various national institutions, such as the media, courts, the electoral system and a big part of the economy.
Johnson said government would not shy away from human rights concerns
Hope not Hate, a group campaigning against racism and fascism, highlighted that Johnson said this week: “where we have concerns about human rights, we do not shy away from raising them”.
They said Orban’s statements on Muslims are “disgustingly hostile, and extreme, and indistinguishable from those of ‘counter-jihadists’”.
“Orban’s hatred of refugees is visceral,” Hope not Hate said, adding: “He condoned violence against a guesthouse owner who offered to host refugee children for short vacations, saying ‘I cannot find anything wrong in this’ after the owner’s tyres were slashed and death threats were sent.”
The group also said: “Orban’s illiberal, repressive and authoritarian brand of politics has won himself and his party admiration from across the global radical and far right scene, many of whom laud him as a ‘strong leader’ who understands the threat of ‘Islamisation’
“He has seemed happy to have far right support. Writing to a Greek Nazi MEP in 2018, he expressed: ‘gratitude for their support’ and ‘wished them… much success in their highly responsible duties’.
“Last year, Orban made a series of provocative broadcasts to the nation, stigmatising the Roma community as violent, worksky and unruly, stoking ethnic tensions.”