Michael Gove has come under fire because he has repeatedly refused to condemn Viktor Orbán to Viktor Orbán because the Tories had a backlash against the European censorship of the Hungarian Prime Minister.
The Minister of the Environment said he was "not tempted" to give an assessment of individual leaders after the Conservative MPs spoke out earlier this month against a request from Hungary in the European Parliament.
The party was criticized by Muslim and Jewish groups who said Orbán had presided over a climate of rising Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in his country.
Environmentalists later defended his approach and said that he would be cautious of public censure, but his instinct was to be critical.
"Anyone who knows Michael and his close ties to the Conservative Friends of Israel and his views on these things knows exactly where he stands on Orbán," one said.
Gove indicated he was skeptical about the delicacy of the UK's relations with EU leaders during the Brexit negotiations.
"It's not my job to rank the EU leaders and say that I'm one of my favorites [I] I have less time for this, "he told the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show," because I believe in cooperative diplomacy, I believe in generosity towards the EU's partners. "
He said he does not believe that "individual criticism of the way you understandably lead me to urge us to focus on solidarity with the issues that count and the best solution for Britain, if we are the European Union Leave the Union ".
Gove said it was "not true" that the Conservatives supported Orbán. "It is a long-standing principle of a number of MEPs from different countries and from different parties, not to believe that the European Parliament should disturb or censor the internal democracy of a particular country," he said.
Some Tories have openly criticized the decision, including conservative colleague Daniel Finkelstein, who described the move as "very stressful."
Jon Trickett, president of the Shadow Order, said he showed "an acceleration of extremist extreme right-wing tendencies in the conservative party."
"Michael Gove refused to condemn Viktor Orbán, who led the Hungarian government to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, to attacks on the independence of the judiciary and the media and to abominable treatment of refugees and minorities," he said.
"It is shocking that the Tory delegates have voted to censor the reactionary Hungarian government, and that the Cabinet ministers are now choosing to support the authoritarian and anti-democratic practices of the Orbán government."
On Wednesday, the European Parliament decided to launch the EU's most serious disciplinary proceedings, due to policies in Hungary aimed at reducing the independence of the judiciary and increasing government control over the media and concerns about corruption.
It was the first time that an Article 7 case had been applied against a Member State which, if prosecuted, would lose its right to vote in the EU. The motion was narrowly passed with the necessary two-thirds majority, with the Conservatives almost alone among the center-right parties opposed to it.
Downing Street has argued that MEPs make their own decisions and distance themselves from this move.