Richard Spurr 1am - 4am
Expert banned from government event says Jacob Rees-Mogg's legislation smells like ‘stalinism’
25 May 2023, 12:48 | Updated: 25 May 2023, 13:37
Expert Dan Kaszeta blacklisted from Whitehall
Chemical weapons expert, Dan Kaszeta, was disinvited from giving a keynote speech at a UK-run conference after civil servants uncovered social media posts he posted criticising Conservative ministers and migration policy.
Last month James O'Brien invited security expert and prospective Liberal Democrat MP Edward Lucas, into the studio, after he published an article in The Times outlining the deliberate attempt by government officials, to ban experts and public speakers from Whitehall.
The case which inspired Edward Lucas' piece is now publically known to have been about defence expert Dan Kaszeta.
Having trawled through Dan Kaszeta’s Twitter, James said: “I’ve had a look through your Twitter you seem to be some sort of Liberal Democrat.”
Mr Kaszeta replied, saying: “I’m everyone’s worst nightmare, I’m a radical centrist, who thinks we should be nice to each other most of the time.”
When questioned by James as to whether he had any “inkling” as to what “set off the government’s radar”, Mr Kaszeta replied: “I mean, I don’t know.”
The chemical weapons expert said: “They pointed to a thread of tweets that I retweeted, where I compared Nadine Dorries to a car crash.
“I also did a tweet referring to an Afghan military pilot who fought for this country, who wasn’t able to get out of Afghanistan by approved means, came over on a small boat, and was facing deportation to Rwanda.
“And I said bloody Tories.”
'Democracy is in danger' Edward Lucas warns
The chemical weapons expert was disinvited from giving a keynote speech at a UK-run expert conference after civil servants uncovered social media posts he posted criticising Conservative ministers and migration policy.
Mr Kaszeta became the latest in a string of at least eight speakers banned from government events by an opaque vetting scheme introduced by Jacob Rees-Mogg in 2022.
In James O'Brien's first introduction to the topic, security expert Edward Lucas had said: "These rules were never debated by parliament, they were never approved by parliament," he said, telling James it had been a "completely secret process".
Referencing Mr Lucas' article, Mr Kaszeta condemned the legislation as “secret rules that nobody voted for” deeming it an “invidious policy” which requires transparency.
Noting his “half Lithuanian” heritage, the banned speaker said he could “smell a whiff of Stalinism” in the Conservative’s policy.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said: “We carefully consider all our speakers at any government-hosted conference to ensure that we can have a careful discussion around our policies and procedures.”