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A leading British Jewish organisation has condemned Conservative MEPs after they voted in defence of Hungary’s far-right government under Viktor Orban.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said it was “very concerning” that the Conservatives had chosen to defend Hungary’s “appalling track record” which they pointed out included both “vivid antisemitism” and islamophobia.

The attack is likely to be embarrassing for Theresa May, whose MEPs were last night accused of helping to defend Mr Orban in a bid for backing in Brexit talks due next week, something Tory sources have denied.

The full statement from the Board of Deputies president, Marie van der Zyl  said : “I note with disappointment that Conservative Party MEPs have voted in defence of Hungary’s populist, right-wing government of Viktor Orban.

“As we have stated previously, we are very alarmed by the messages at the heart of Orban’s election campaign, including his comments about ‘Muslim invaders’, calling migrants poison, and the vivid antisemitism in the relentless campaign against Jewish philanthropist George Soros.”

Ms van der Zyl said that Hungary’s “whipping up of prejudice”, restrictions on the media and judiciary “must be stopped”.

She added: “It is very concerning that Conservative Party MEPs chose to defend Hungary’s appalling track record, rather than supporting a motion to protect the rule of law.”

Politicians from across the EU voted by a two-thirds majority 448-197 in favour of starting the ‘Article 7’ process on Wednesday – which could ultimately see Hungary stripped of its voting rights at the European Council.

An analysis of votes by The Independent has found the Tories were the only governing conservative party in western Europe to vote against the move.

Of the Tory MEPs, only Nosheena Mobarik rebelled to vote for the motion, while two others, Charles Tannock and Sajjad Karim, abstained. Separately, Richard Ashworth and Julie Girling, who were elected as Conservatives but left their political group over Brexit and do not take the whip, also backed action. Read more

Related news: Barnier says Brexit deal could be struck in next two months. Read more