Tory leader to attend rally with Danish racist

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Indy Politics

The Conservative leader, Iain Duncan Smith, has been warned that he could jeopardise his party's chances of political recovery by agreeing to share a public platform with a Danish racist.

Mr Duncan Smith is billed to speak at the Rally for a Referendum on 7 November, at which Pia Kjaersgaard, chairman of the Danish People's Party, will also appear. The Danish Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that it was permissable to use the adjective "racist" to describe Ms Kjaersgaard.

The rally is being organised by the Congress for Democracy, which is campaigning against the new European constitution which it sees as a threat to Britian's independence. Tory MP Ian Taylor, a leading pro-European, issued a public plea yesterday to Mr Duncan Smith to steer clear of "unsavoury" politicians from fringe groups.

After the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US Ms Kjaersgaard declared a "holy war on Islam". In May last year, she said: "Asylum-seekers are often under-educated and illiterate. I don't need them." She went on to claim that "Muslims have a taste for committing mass rape."

Her party's campaign poster in the 2001 Danish general election featured a photograph of a young white girl with the caption: "When she retires, Denmark will be a majority-Muslim nation." Denmark's population of 5.4 million is about 2 per cent Muslim, and 95 per cent Protestant.

Ms Kjaersgaard has close links with the right wing of the Conservative Party, not because of her views on race but because she was also one of the leaders of the successful campaign to persuade Danish voters to reject the euro.

Daniel Hannam, a Tory MEP and leader writer for The Daily Telegraph, acted as one of her political advisers during the Danish referendum. He believes the Tories should team up with small anti-euro parties like Ms Kjaersgaard's.

Mr Taylor said yesterday: "We need to build up the Conservative Party's credibility, and appearing on a platform with politicians with unsavoury reputations is not a good start."

A Tory party spokesman said: "Iain Duncan Smith is totally opposed to racism."

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