Orban backs ‘fair Brexit’ and accuses EU of seeking to punish UK

Theresa May won backing for a “fair Brexit” deal from controversial Hungarian leader Viktor Orban.

He accused some of his fellow leaders of wanting to “punish” the UK for its vote to leave the European Union.

His comments come just days after Tory MEPs voted to oppose the launch of disciplinary action against Hungary over concerns about human rights and the rule of law.

Arriving for the second day of the EU’s informal meeting in Salzburg, Mr Orban hit out at the way the bloc had responded to the decision of the British people in the 2016 referendum.

“I don’t like the approach to punish the British just because they decided to leave,” he said.

“It’s a great nation so we should have a fair approach and to have a good deal.”

He said there was a “general approach” to punish the UK, but Hungary was part of a camp that was resisting that in order to strive for a “fair Brexit”.

The support from Mr Orban comes just days after Conservative MEPs opposed the European Parliament starting disciplinary proceedings against Hungary.

MEPs voted overwhelmingly to back a report recommending action against the Hungarian government over its electoral system, media freedoms, independence of the judiciary, treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, and limits on the functioning of non-governmental organisations.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove later said it was “not true” the Conservatives supported Mr Orban, despite the votes by Tory MEPs.

“It’s a long-standing principle of a number of MEPs from different countries and from different parties not to believe that the European Parliament should interfere in or censure the internal democracy of a particular country,” he said.

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