Tories 'winced' over Tony Abbott's 'fascistic' refugees speech
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Tories 'winced' over Tony Abbott's 'fascistic' refugees speech

London: Tony Abbott's controversy-sparking speech in honour of Margaret Thatcher made Conservative cabinet ministers "wince", a well-connected Tory blogger says.

Guido Fawkes, the online persona of blogger and journalist Paul Staines, wrote that a top Tory described the speech afterwards as "fascistic".

In the speech on Tuesday night, the former Australian prime minister recommended a hardline approach to turning migrants away from Europe's borders, and an increase in military action on the ground in Syria.

Fawkes said the speech was "punchy".

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Tony Abbott gave The Margaret Thatcher lecture in London.

Tony Abbott gave The Margaret Thatcher lecture in London.

Photo: Julian Andrews

"Nigel Farage has praised him as 'heroic'. One top Tory alternatively described it as 'fascistic'," Fawkes wrote.

"Tory cabinet ministers winced as [Mr Abbott] warned Europe must use force to turn boats around and establish camps for migrants", he said.

The audience at the black-tie event included Iain Duncan Smith (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions), John Whittingdale (Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport), Sajid Javid (Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills), Priti Patel (Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions), Liz Truss (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and Chris Grayling (leader of the House of Commons).

Elsewhere the reception to Mr Abbott's speech was warmer.

Tony Abbott also spoke with UKIP migration spokesman Steven Woolfe while in London.

Tony Abbott also spoke with UKIP migration spokesman Steven Woolfe while in London.

Photo: Stephen Woolfe Twitter

The Spectator said Mr Abbott explained "what so few European policymakers seem able to grasp".

"Yes, the rich world has a moral duty to help people fleeing for their lives," the publication wrote. "But that duty requires tough action – as well as targeted help – to prevent a genuine flow of refugees developing into an uncontrolled flood of migrants."

The migration trend was not just driven by the Syrian War but long-term economic changes between the developing and developed world, The Spectator wrote.

News Corp-owned Sun Nation described Mr Abbott as delivering a "chilling speech" that was a "bombshell".

Nick Miller

Nick Miller is Europe correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

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