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Auschwitz 'gimmick' row

by: Ben Simons - Last updated: 2008-02-25



Conservative leader David Cameron has come under attack by claiming that free educational trips to Auschwitz are a "gimmick" which have not been delivered as promised by the Labour Government.

According to the Conservatives, schools are having to raise £100 of the £350 needed to afford the trip to the former Nazi concentration camp in Poland.

The "gimmick" wording came in a statement attacking the Government which cited other issues including "prison ships", “deep cleaning of hospitals” and “honours for sportsmen".

Former Conservative leader and now Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague said the statement was not meant as an insult. "He wasn’t saying there should not be such trips — we support that. If you look at the list of 26 government announcements, or gimmicks, many of those are supported by the Conservatives. The point is, Gordon Brown tends to make these announcements but when you look at the small print he is not delivering them."

In a statement, Board of Deputies president Henry Grunwald did not want to get drawn into a political storm but said: "The Board of Deputies does not get involved in Party politics but we are surprised and disappointed that David Cameron should in any way have used the word "gimmick" in connection with visits to Auschwitz."

Grunwald added: "MPs of all Parties have supported these visits and understand their importance and we are grateful to Gordon Brown and the Government for having made funding available to enable two sixth formers from every secondary school to participate."