A Hungarian ruling party politician who resigned two days ago as a member of the European Parliament (MEP) says he was present at a house party broken up by Brussels police for breaching lockdown rules.
Jozsef Szajer, a senior member of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ruling conservative Fidesz party, said in a statement on December 1 that he cooperated with police.
The statement refers to a private party in Brussels on November 27. Police stormed the party in a building housing a gay bar. It has been widely described in Belgian news reports as a lockdown sex party that allegedly involved men only and included diplomats and a member of the European Parliament.
"I was present," Szajer said in his statement, making no reference to a "sex party."
A police statement on December 1 said a passerby saw a man "fleeing along a gutter" whose hands were bloody. The statement, which later identified the man as Szajer, said the injury possibly occurred while he was fleeing. It also said "narcotics were found in his backpack" and he was escorted to his home, where he identified himself by presenting his diplomatic passport.
In his statement, published in Hungarian media, the 59-year-old Szajer said police issued an official verbal warning after bringing him home. He said he did not use drugs and referred to an ecstasy pill that he said police said they found in his backpack, saying he had "no knowledge" of it.
Szajer also said he deeply regretted violating restrictions on gatherings put in place to help control the spread of the coronavirus.
“It was irresponsible on my part,” he said, indicating he will accept any fine incurred.
The “misstep” was “strictly personal,” the Hungarian politician added, asking that it not reflect on his years of service or his homeland.
Szajer has been a member of the European Parliament since Hungary joined the European Union in 2014. He was a deputy leader of the European People’s Party until 2019.
In a statement published on his website on November 29 after his abrupt resignation from the European Parliament, Szajer said that for some time “participating in the struggles of daily politics has been an increasing emotional burden for me."
That statement also said he continued to fully support Orban’s policies and his resignation was “in no way related to the content of the current [political] struggles.”
The scandal is seen as particularly embarrassing for the Fidesz party, which campaigns for conservative Christian values and rails against LGBT issues.
Szajer himself was one of the authors of an amendment to the Hungarian Constitution that says marriage is only between a man and a woman.
Last month, the government drafted a change to the constitution that would in effect ban adoption by same-sex couples.