Free from fear or favour
No tracking. No cookies

The Orbánisation of British Politics: Farage and Braverman Headline with Hungarian Prime Minister at National Conservatism Conference

NatCon Brussels is creating a network of radical right speakers from the UK, Europe and the US which often aim to roll back reproductive and sexuality rights

Montage: Alamy Images

Newsletter offer

Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive editorial emails from the Byline Times Team.

Suella Braverman and Nigel Farage have been announced as speakers alongside Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at this year’s National Conservatism Conference (NatCon) in Brussels next week. 

Braverman also spoke at last year’s UK event with other Conservative politicians including Michael Gove, Miriam Cates and Danny Kruger. Last year the Byline Times reported on NatCon’s links to Orbán, US billionaire Peter Thiel, and the organisations funding this effort to mainstream Christian Nationalism.

The line-up for this year’s NatCon Brussels further demonstrates Orbán’s influence on the right of European politics and also includes many speakers with links to radical right networks in Europe and the US who aim to roll back reproductive and sexuality rights. 

Toby Young’s Free Speech Union (FSU) is again well represented at NatCon, demonstrating the organisation’s links to the movement.

James Orr and Matthew Goodwin both spoke at NatCon UK and are speaking again in Brussels. Orr was chair of NatCon UK, and is UK chair of the Edmund Burke Foundation (EBF) which is the organisation behind NatCon. 

The FSU’s Frank Ferudi is also speaking. Ferudi, formerly of the Revolutionary Communist Party, is the Executive Director of the Brussels branch of the Hungarian government-backed college Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC). Furedi told Politico that his position at MCC Brussels was “a chance to fight back in the culture wars” in an article that labelled him “Orban’s attack dog”.

In May 2022, Furedi also spoke at the US-based Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) hosted in Budapest. CPAC is an annual conference organised by the American Conservative Union (ACU), the foremost Republican organisation in the US.

The European Congress of Families and The International Organization for the Family

Karam Bales delves into a conference with ties to a Russian backed anti-gender network

Another NatCon speaker Ralph Gert Schoellhammer is a Visiting Fellow at MCC Budapest. He is also a writer for UnHerd, Spiked, and the European Conservative and a regular on GB News and Talk TV. 

NatCon features several other speakers from institutes backed by the Hungarian Government.   John O’Sullivan is president of the Danube Institute, a Hungarian conservative think tank that receives state funding, and Rob Dreher is a fellow of the institute. Another speaker Gladden Pappin is president of the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs, Hungary’s foreign policy research institute of state.

NatCon has been linked to the brand of Christian Nationalism adopted by the radical right in the US. Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation who spoke at NatCon UK 2023 is an author of Project 2025 which sets out the agenda for a second Trump presidency, including policies that would “rescind regulations prohibiting discrimination”  and roll back access to abortion and contraception with a “focus on strengthening marriage and sexual risk avoidance.”

Speaking at NatCon 2024, Paul Coleman is the executive director of Alliance Defending Freedom International (ADF) and a lawyer. The Southern Poverty Law Center based in the US which monitors far-right activity has labelled the ADF as a hate group. The organisation was also named in an EU report Tip of the Iceberg (TOTI) as being a key organisation in a Europe-wide network involved in funnelling US and Russian dark money into religious extremism with the aim of rolling back reproductive and sexuality rights. Between 2008 and 2019 ADF spent over $23,000,000 on anti-gender campaigning across Europe.

ADF’s UK entity has recently ramped up lobbying in Westminster, according to analysis by the Observer the latest financial accounts for ADF UK show it spent almost £1m in the year to June 2023, up from £392,556 in 2020, and that its income almost doubled between 2022 and 2023, from £553,823 to £1,068,552.

Another NatCon speaker Ladislav Ilčić MEP is a Croatian politician who represents Hrvatski suverenisti (Croatian Sovereigntists) and is part of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR).

Ilčić also attended the European Congress of Families conference (ECF) held in Croatia in September 2023 which featured speakers from other key organisations named in the TOTI report including Brian Brown of the International Organization of the Family which is directly linked to Russian oligarchs who have been under western sanctions since the annexation of Crimea. In 2014 Brown organised a conference inside the Kremlin palace.

MPs links to Christian Nationalism Revealed

Karam Bales looks at the senior British Conservatives appearing at the National Conservatism Conference with its international right wing network, from Peter Thiel to Viktor Orbán

Other ECF speakers included Conservative MPs Miriam Cates and Ranil Jayawardena. ECF was organised by the ECR which contains factions of socially conservative, right-wing populist, liberal-conservative, Christian democratic, far-right, and national conservative parties.

Three other members of the ECR are also speaking at NatCon 2024, co-chairman Ryszard Legutko from Poland, Dutch independent MEP Rob Roos, and Vice President Hermann Tertsch del Valle-Lersundi who is a member of the Spanish VOX Political Party which is named in the TOTI report as being part of the $700,000,000 anti-gender network.  

European politicians at NatCon 2024 also include members of the Identity and Democracy Party, Tom Vandendriessche of Belgium’s Vlaams Belang party who although described themselves as centre-right are widely considered to be on the far right, and Patricia Chagnon, an MEP representing Marie Le Pen’s National Rally party.

Other NatCon speakers include:

Melanie Phillips, columnist for The Times and the Jewish News Syndicate, and regular on the BBC is also speaking at the conference.

So too is Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist and political analyst who is a distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, accused of being a hate group and fake news publisher that has received funding from the Mercer Family Foundation run by the billionaire Mercer family who also funded Cambridge Analytica. The Gatestone Institute has ties to the British ‘think tanks’ the Henry Jackson Society and Policy Exchange as reported by the Byline Times. 

Also speaking is German aristocrat Gloria von Thurn und Taxis who worked closely with conservative Traditionalist Catholic leaders within the church and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, with whom she planned to set up a school to educate and train right-wing Catholics.

The conference’s special guest is Gerhard Ludwig Müller, a German Cardinal of the Catholic Church who has courted controversy for public criticism of Pope Francis stating that the Pope has “uttered plenty of material heresies”.

Written by

This article was filed under
, , , , , , , ,