Police poised to shut down National Conservatism conference with Farage and Braverman as speakers

16 April 2024, 12:41 | Updated: 16 April 2024, 13:06

Nigel Farare pictured during the NatCon Conference
Nigel Farare pictured during the NatCon Conference. Picture: Getty Images

By Flaminia Luck

Authorities in Brussels have ordered the closure of the right wing National Conservatism conference which had politicians including Nigel Farage and Suella Braverman as speakers.

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The two-day conference also includes Hungarian leader Viktor Orban in the line-up.

Images shared widely on social media today show a large police presence outside the event, with reports suggesting police and local officials ordered the conference to be shut down.

Emir Kir, the mayor of Brussels district Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, said he had issued an order banning the National Conservatism 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."

The conference had already struggled to find a venue, with two event spaces cancelling the National Conservatives' booking in the face of public pressure - leading organisers to accuse the Brussels mayor Philippe Close of seeking to "cancel" the event.

According to a reports on social media, police arrived while Mr Farage, the honorary president of Reform UK, was addressing the event, giving attendees 15 minutes to leave the venue.

Footage later showed police officers entering the venue.

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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".

The National Conservatism Conference said it aims to bring together voices from across Europe to share their views on the continent's future political outlook.

Around 40 leading figures from the conservative and religious right and far-right were invited to take part.

A report in the Brussels Times claimed "anti-fascist" protesters were threatening the venue with mass protests, and had called for the event to be called off.

People attend the NatCon National Conservatism Conference, at the Claridge, in Brussels
People attend the NatCon National Conservatism Conference, at the Claridge, in Brussels. Picture: Getty