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Wednesday, 15 January 2020 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Ongoing hearings under article 7(1) of the TEU regarding Hungary (debate)

  Molly Scott Cato (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, the developing rapprochement between Britain’s new government and Hungary’s President Orbán should ring alarm bells for all democrats. First we have conservative adviser Tim Montgomery call for a special relationship between London and Budapest, and then Orbán praises Johnson as one of the bravest European politicians.

With the government opposing any parliamentary oversight of the process of negotiating our future relationship with the EU, are we seeing the UK on the way to becoming a fake democracy on the Hungarian model?

Since 2010, Orbán’s Government has attacked media freedom, limiting access to certain sympathetic journalists. Johnson is threatening to abolish the BBC licence, boycott the Today Programme and castrate the lobby system that holds government to account. This government is politicising media relationships as never before.

Orbán endorses Brexit because it represents a move towards authoritarian government and illiberal democracy. Johnson’s Tories have fallen over themselves to roll out the red carpet for the Hungarian leader. This is deeply worrying, not only for the UK, but also for the EU.

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