Holocaust-denying bishop 'on way to UK'

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The Independent US

A British-born Roman Catholic bishop asked to leave Argentina after "offensive" comments about the Holocaust is reportedly on his way back to Britain.

Richard Williamson boarded an international flight at Buenos Aires airport today, according to news agency reports.

The bishop has been resident in Argentina at the St Pius X seminary in Buenos Aires, but last week the government gave him 10 days to leave the country.

It branded remarks he reportedly made about the Holocaust in Swedish television interview as "deeply offensive".

There is only one direct flight from Buenos Aires airport to London each day, a British Airways service that leaves at 14.15 local time and takes 15 hours to reach Heathrow airport.

A spokesman for British Airways refused to comment on the reports and no-one was available at the Argentinian seminary to confirm the bishop's departure or travel plans.

The bishop is reported to have claimed in a television interview last month that historical evidence was "hugely against six million having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler...I believe there were no gas chambers".

He added: "I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but none of them in gas chambers."

The Vatican has ordered Bishop Williamson to retract his comments and the Catholic Church in England and Wales has said he must do so before he can "enter into full communion with the Church".

Bishop Williamson was ordained by the renegade French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre leading to his automatic ex-communication by the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI has been severely criticised for the decision, made before the comments became public, to lift it.

Lord Janner, President of the Holocaust Educational Trust said: "It would be much better if he was not here, but as a British citizen it cannot be prevented."