A leading youth activist was expelled from the Conservative Party yesterday after dressing up as the missing toddler Madeleine McCann for a "bad taste" function.
Matthew Lewis, who was chairman of the Staffordshire branch of Conservative Future until last month, went to the New Year party dressed in pink pyjamas and a blonde wig and carrying "a teddy bear and a vial of fake blood", according to his entry on the website Facebook. In conversation with friends on the site, he wrote there was "a brief moment" when he thought he had gone too far but that it had been "OK".
However, Mr Lewis was yesterday made aware that was far from the case. A spokesman for Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry described his actions as offensive "almost beyond belief" and the Conservatives announced he had been expelled from the party along with two other people.
In a statement, Mr Lewis said: "I unreservedly apologise to Mr and Mrs McCann for my actions."