Mussolini invitation condemned

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AN INVITATION to Alessandra Mussolini, a far-right Italian MP and grand-daughter of the fascist leader, to address a fringe meeting during next month's Conservative Party conference was condemned by Tony Blair, Labour's home affairs spokesman, yesterday, writes Anthony Bevins.

He said the Prime Minister and Sir Norman Fowler, the Tory chairman, should use their authority to have the invitation withdrawn and the meeting cancelled.

But as Conservative Central Office pointed out, they have no control over fringe events, held outside the precincts of the conference hall in Brighton and, in this case, organised by a non- party group; a right-wing organisation called Western Goals.

Nevertheless, Mr Blair said: 'This invitation is an act of extraordinary insensitivity and will be deeply resented by many of those people who bear the scars and memories of the Second World War.'

David Sumberg, Conservative MP for Bury South, told BBC radio: 'I deeply deplore it . . . I don't think she'll be welcomed by the vast majority of decent, honest Conservative delegates.'