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Nigel Farage says police would have to ‘drag him off stage’ after attempt to shut down conference | Politics News

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Nigel Farage said police would “have to drag me off stage” after officers moved to shut down the National Conservatism conference in Brussels.

Local officials arrived as the former Brexit Party leader was finishing a speech at the event, which is also due to hear from Hungary’s pro-Putin leader Viktor Orbán and two Conservative MPs.

Emir Kir, the mayor of Brussels district Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, said he had issued an order banning the conference from taking place on Tuesday “to guarantee public safety”.

He added: “In Etterbeek, in Brussels City and in Saint-Josse, the far-right is not welcome.”

Tory MP Suella Braverman, who was sacked as home secretary last year, was also due to speak on Tuesday as well as Conservative MP Miriam Cates.

However, police officers arrived two hours into the event near the city’s European Quarter to inform organisers it must close.

Sky’s political correspondent Darren McCaffery, who is at the scene, said police initially told the venue owner that if the building isn’t evacuated they will start removing people.

Nigel Farage gestures as he gives a keynote speech
Pic: Reuters
Nigel Farage gestures as he gives a keynote speech
Pic: Reuters

However, they later said they “would not be dragging people out” and instead the tactic was to stop anyone new entering the venue.

He said this is the third venue chosen by conference organisers, after two others cancelled at the last minute “due to political pressure”.

Mr Farage said that police would have to “drag me off stage” and “it’s a pity they didn’t”.

He said the conference attendees were “respectable people” and “there’s no protest of significance” happening against it.

“It’s about closing down an ideology,” he said.

Rishi Sunak had faced pressure to block Ms Braverman’s attendance at the conference, with Labour shadow minister Jonathan Ashworth urging him to stop the former home secretary “giving oxygen to these divisive and dangerous individuals”.

Under Boris Johnson’s government in 2020, Conservative backbencher Daniel Kawczynski was reprimanded for attending a National Conservatism conference in Rome, with a Tory spokesman condemning the views of some other speakers, including Mr Orban.

Both Ms Braverman and Ms Cates addressed the National Conservatism conference in London last year, which was disrupted by protesters.

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