Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has disowned his MEP Jozsef Szajer after he was found among a group of naked men at a gay sex party in Belgium.
Szájer, who rewrote Hungary’s constitution to exclude same-sex marriage, was arrested at a “private party” which broke coronavirus restrictions.
When police arrived to break up the gathering he was caught shinning down a drainpipe in a failed escape attempt, and later tried to claim diplomatic immunity.
His behaviour was “unacceptable and indefensible”, Orbán said, declaring the MEP now has no place in his anti-LGBT+ party.
“The actions of our fellow deputy, Jozsef Szajer, are incompatible with the values of our political family. We will not forget nor repudiate his 30 years of work, but his deed is unacceptable and indefensible,” read a statement from his office.
“Following this, he took the only appropriate decision when he apologised and resigned from his position as member of the European Parliament and left Fidesz.”
It had to be a heavy blow for Orbán as Szajer was a founding father of the homophobic Fidesz party and served as its leading force in the European parliament.
The scandal also ruffled feathers in the European Parliament grouping, the European People’s Party (EPP).
EPP president Donald Tusk weighed in on the matter, suggesting on Wednesday that Fidesz should be cast out. “What else should Fidesz do for all of you to see that they simply don’t fit in with our family?” he tweeted.
What else should #Fidesz do for all of you to see that they simply don’t fit in with our family?
— Donald Tusk (@donaldtuskEPP) December 2, 2020
It sounds like Tusk has finally lost patience with Viktor Orbán after Hungary and Poland teamed up to veto the EU’s €1.8tn budget and recovery fund as long as “respect for democratic norms” remains a condition for payment.
The two countries are seen as outliers of right-wing extremism in the European Union and have made it perfectly clear that they won’t comply with the bloc’s principles of equality and tolerance.
In a pointed message on Twitter, Tusk warned Orbán: “Whoever is against the rule of law is against Europe. I expect a clear position on this from all members of the European People’s Party. No one can defend our opponents of our fundamental values anymore.”
It seems the loss of Szajer, a crucial ally for Orbán in the EPP, could not have come at a worse time.