The Tories were the only ruling conservative party in Western Europe that voted massively to support the far-right government of Viktor Orban The Independent has found.

The Conservatives whipped their 19 members of the European Parliament against action against Hungary, with only one defiantly voting in favor of the motion.

The European Parliament voted by a two-thirds majority (448-197) to launch the Article 7 trial against Hungary, accused of violating press freedom, undermining the independence of the judiciary and conducting an anti-Semitic campaign against a leading Jewish businessman ,

The conservatives, who allied themselves with the extreme right of the continent, argued that the motion was "politicized" and counterproductive, but critics at home accused them of deliberately meeting with Mr. Orban to gain his support in Brexit talks.

Arriving in Strasbourg, a grateful Mr. Orban praised the British government and told reporters: "We would like to have a fair Brexit because we love the British and because we have always worked well together – and you deserve a good business, a fair business."

Of the Tory deputies, only Nosheena Mobarik rebelled for the motion, while two others, Charles Tannock and Sajjad Karim, abstained. Richard Ashworth and Julie Girling, who were elected conservatives but left their faction because of Brexit and did not take the whip, also supported the action.

In addition to undermining civil rights, the judiciary and the attack on Jewish businessman George Soros, the Orban government is subject to allegations of corruption allegedly caused by its friends and family's alleged disregard for EU funds. Mr. Orban himself has called refugees "Muslim invaders" and accused of being deeply anti-Muslim.

The votes of the Conservatives were almost decisive because the motion required a two-thirds majority and only 22 votes.

In the east of the continent, the Bulgarian ruling party GERB and the ruling Croatian Democratic Union joined the Tories to support Hungary's government.

But most support for Viktor Orban came from right-wing extremists and populists, such as the Polish Law and Justice Party, the Italian League, and the National Front, recently renamed France. Groups like the Swedish Democrats, the Austrian FPÖ and Ukip rejected the motion.

Only a handful of Western European Conservative MEPs rejected the motion without others being urged to do so. Only three of Spain's 17-strong Conservative delegation did so, as did three of France's 19-member group. Austria's conservative members of the ÖVP voted in favor of action following an intervention by Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Viktor Orban and Theresa May at an EU summit

In Germany, four members of the Bavarian CSU voted against the motion in a free vote, but party leader Manfred Weber supported the censorship. An MP from Angela Merkel's large CDU delegation also rebelled to support Orban.

Among the opposition conservative parties, the MPs of Poland's opposition conservative civic platform supported the motion, while the Italian allies of Silvio Berlusconi and the Slovenian delegation voted against.

Oppositionsparteien kritisierten die Entscheidung der Konservativen stark. Der Schattenkanzler der Labour Party, John McDonnell, sagte: "Will Theresa May diese Tory MdEPs rufen, die dafür ausersehen wurden, Viktor Orban gegen einen Misstrauensantrag gegen seine Angriffe auf Flüchtlinge und seinen Antisemitismus und seine Islamophobie zu unterstützen? Wenn nicht, würde ich ihr nicht raten, irgendjemanden wieder über Rassismus zu belehren. "

Vor der Abstimmung sagte Daniel Dalton, stellvertretender Innenpolitik-Sprecher des Innenministeriums, dass der Antrag "eine Grenze überschreitet, indem er politisiert, was eine rein rechtliche Angelegenheit sein sollte". Er argumentierte, dass die Abgeordneten "keine Rolle spielen" sollten, um Artikel 7 auszulösen, obwohl der Text tatsächlich dem Europäischen Parlament Befugnisse verleiht.

Wenn das Verfahren nach Artikel 7 zu Ende geführt wird, könnte Ungarn sein Stimmrecht auf dem Europäischen Rat verlieren.

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters vote in the final Brexit deal.

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