Letter: No Tory invitation

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The Independent Online
Sir: In some editions of 5 September, you carried a report headed, 'Tories disown invitations to Le Pen and Mussolini'. This made it clear that 'Western Goals' - the group inviting Alessandra Mussolini to Brighton to coincide with our conference - has nothing whatever to do with the Conservative Party. It also accurately quoted my statement that no such meeting would be advertised in the official party guide nor be allowed to take place within the official conference area.

It then cited a claim by the far left 'Anti-Nazi League' that Jean-Marie Le Pen 'is being given a platform at the Tory party conference', and that he is being invited by 'individuals associated with Britain's governing party'. This is false. Neither Mr Le Pen nor Ms Mussolini is attending our party conference. No one in Western Goals is known by Central Office to belong to our party. Its chairman is on record (Observer, 8 December 1991) as recommending the creation of 'a radical right alternative outside the Conservative party' (italics added). No known member of his tiny group seems to have requested a conference pass, even as an observer.

Despite your report of 5 September, you claimed on 9 September that Central Office 'refused to condemn' the alleged invitation by Western Goals. In a classic smear tactic, Tony Blair declared: 'It is extraordinary that such an invitation should be extended to a Tory Party Conference' (italics added). This is, as I have explained, entirely untrue.

It is regrettable that a senior Labour politician should choose to exploit in this way the publicity-seeking antics of an extreme, anti-Conservative group, such as Western Goals, whose activities we wholly condemn.

Yours faithfully,

NORMAN FOWLER

Chairman of the Party

Conservative Central Office

London, SW1

16 September

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