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McCanns' anger at Tory activist

Original Source:  BBC: FRIDAY 09 JANUARY 2009
Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Friday, 9 January 2009

Kate and Gerry McCann have condemned a

Matthew Lewis has been thrown out of the party (PIC: Staffordshire Sentinel News and Meda)

 Conservative activist who boasted about dressing up as Madeleine McCann at a party, calling his actions "offensive".

Matthew Lewis has been expelled from the party after telling friends of his planned exploits at a New Year party.

Tory chairman Caroline Spelman said the actions of Mr Lewis, a member of the young activist group Conservative Future, were "completely unacceptable".

Five-year Madeleine disappeared in 2007 during a family holiday in Portugal.


Despite a worldwide hunt, there has been no trace of her since.

Mr Lewis, who is believed to studying in London, told friends on the Facebook website that he planned to attend a party dressed as Madeleine McCann.

He said his costume would include "pink pyjamas, a teddy bear and a vial of fake blood".

This offensive behaviour is not only shocking but intolerable and completely unacceptable
Caroline Spelman

After the party, Mr Lewis used the website to tell another Conservative Future member that "there was a brief moment when I thought I might have gone too far with elements of the costume but it was OK".

Mr Lewis was listed by Conservative Future as its branch chairman in Staffordshire although he is reported to have resigned from the position last month.

Staffordshire Conservative Future's website now lists the post of chairman as "vacant".

He was pictured campaigning alongside Tory leader David Cameron during last year's Crewe and Nantwich by-election.

A spokesman for the McCanns said his actions were "offensive almost beyond belief".


"His actions are not only disgraceful in

Kate and Gerry McCann are demanding an apology

 themselves, they will also cause great hurt to Kate and Gerry," he said.

"It is a complete disgrace that Madeleine's name and image should be made fun of in this way."

But the spokesman praised the "swift and appropriate" action taken by the Conservatives against Mr Lewis.

It is understood Mr Lewis is to make a "full and unreserved" apology to the McCanns, which the Conservatives hope will draw a line under the incident.

In a statement, Conservative Central Office said there was "no place for this sort of person in the party".

"This offensive behaviour is not only shocking but intolerable and completely unacceptable," Mrs Spelman said.


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