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Hungarian deputy quits Fidesz after Brussels scandal, Orban says his acts 'indefensible'

BUDAPEST/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Hungarian politician Jozsef Szajer, who was conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s strongest voice in the European Parliament, resigned from his ruling party as more details emerged of how he fled a gay sex party in Brussels by clambering down a gutter.

The affair is an embarrassment to Orban, a right-wing nationalist whose Fidesz party espouses its view of traditional Christian and family values and has campaigned against the country’s LGBT community.

Orban told the Magyar Nemzet newspaper that Szajer’s actions were “indefensible”.

“He took the only appropriate decision when he apologised and resigned from his position as member of the European Parliament and left Fidesz,” Orban said.

Police in Belgium, where gay sex and marriage as well as sex parties between consenting adults are legal, broke up the party last Friday because it was breaking coronavirus lockdown rules.

“We don’t sit around drinking tea. People are here for sex,” party organiser David Manzheley told Reuters at his

apartment in central Brussels.

Reuters has not been able to reach Szajer for comment.

Szajer was a founding member of Fidesz and an ally of Orban for more than 30 years. In Brussels as a European deputy, he was the party’s leading force in the European Parliament and he had an instrumental role in rewriting Hungary’s constitution after Orban won elections in 2010.

FILE PHOTO: Jozsef Szajer, senior member of ruling Fidesz party delivers his speech during the party's campaign ahead of the European Parliament elections in Budapest, Hungary April 5, 2019. Picture taken April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

He resigned as European deputy on Sunday, citing unspecified moral reasons. He said he regretted having broken Belgian lockdown rules.

Belgian police detained about 20 people at the house party.

Belgian prosecutors did not name anyone, including the 59-year-old Szajer, but said police had detained a man with initials S. J. and born in 1961 who had tried to flee the venue along the gutter and was found with narcotics in his backpack.

Szajer denied taking drugs and said he had offered to take a drugs test at the scene but police did not carry one out.

“The police said they had found ecstasy pills. They were not mine, I know nothing of who put them there and how. I told that to police,” he said in a statement.


Party organizer Manzheley said that 30 people came to the event on Friday evening, many fewer than the regular 100 or so. He did not know everyone there but recognised Szajer subsequently, he said.

Guests at his parties would undress on arrival, some of them donning fetish gear, he said, showing a Reuters correspondent the flashing lights he puts up for his gatherings.

“We have Christmas coming. People are thirsty for meetings... It is absolutely normal that guys in the gay community are going to be searching for solutions to meet.

“Yes, he (Szajer) was present, like many other politicians from different countries,” he said.

Manzheley said he had not been charged and complained of rough treatment by the police.

The incident has caused a scandal in Hungary and political analysts said it could have implications for Orban.

It comes at a sensitive time. Hungary, along with Poland, is in dispute with the European Union over linking funds from its budget and recovery fund to the rule of law. The EU is currently investigating both governments for undermining the independence of their judiciaries and media.

The two countries are blocking about 1.8 trillion euros worth of EU funds, including hundreds of billions due to be disbursed soon to help pull the bloc out of a double-dip recession caused by a second wave of COVID-19.

Orban has also clashed with the EU over policy on migrants and asylum-seekers.

“The actions of our fellow deputy, Jozsef Szajer, are incompatible with the values of our political family,” the Magyar Nemzet quoted Orban as saying.

Reporting by Krisztina Than and Gergely Szakacs in Budapest and Philip Blnekinsop in Brussels; Editing by Angus MacSwan