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French to probe Nazi-row MP party

French prosecutors have opened an investigation into a Nazi-themed party attended by Conservative MP Aidan Burley.

A spokesman for the public prosecutor in the Alpine resort of Albertville confirmed that a preliminary inquiry has been launched but refused to comment further.

The news prompted calls from Labour for Prime Minister David Cameron to withdraw the whip from the Cannock Chase MP until the inquiry is concluded.

Mr Burley, who has apologised for the incident, has already been sacked from his unpaid Government job as a parliamentary private secretary over the affair.

But Labour MP Ian Austin said the PM should go further, claiming: "David Cameron and the Tories tried to brush this under the carpet but the scandal surrounding Aidan Burley's disgraceful conduct is not going away. Surely the Prime Minister must take the whip off Mr Burley while this investigation is taking place."

It is understood that the investigation was prompted by a complaint from French pressure group SOS Racisme over the stag party in a restaurant in the ski resort of Val Thorens.

Reports suggest that one of the 12 friends attending wore a replica SS officer's uniform while another toasted the Third Reich and there were chants of "Himmler, Himmler, Himmler". Under French law, it is a crime to wear uniforms, insignia or emblems linked to the Nazi regime, unless they are being used for a film, play or historical exhibition.

Mr Burley said in a statement: "I have not been contacted by the French authorities and I have repeatedly apologised for what was clearly inappropriate behaviour which caused offence to others."

The leader of Cannock Chase Council, Labour's George Adamson, said Mr Burley should resign, adding: "I think he's brought shame on Cannock. His behaviour was appalling, there's no excuse for what happened. This was pre-planned, that uniform didn't appear as if by magic, this was all planned in advance.

"It's disgusting, it's illegal in France, and the authorities, quite rightly, are investigating the matter." Mr Burley's "half-hearted apology" was not enough, Mr Adamson said. "It's a matter of honour, he should resign and give Cannock the chance to elect an MP we can be proud of."

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