Vlaams Belang to give far right activist parliamentary platform

Dries Van Langenhove, the founder of the far right organisation Schild & Vrienden, has announced he will be standing as an independent on the Vlaams Belang list of candidates in May's general election.  Mr Van Langenhove will be the top candidate of the far right party in the Flemish Brabant multi-member constituency for the Belgian parliament and is almost certain of a seat.

Speaking with VRT News 25-year-old Mr Van Langenhove insisted he wasn't entering party politics but was keen to stress his status as an independent on the list.

"I haven't entered party politics.  I will remain an activist independent of any party.  In the federal parliament I will be able say and do what I already do during street actions and on social media if I get the support of the Vlaams Brabanters."

"I possess no party card.  I am not involved in party politics and the political party carve up that holds Belgium in a strangulation grasp.  I will not be filling my pockets."

"This is no opportunism.  I'm doing what my followers and supporters have asked of me for months now: that I declare in parliament what I've been saying in the street and on social media."

During an interview on VRT TV Mr Van Langenhove repeatedly insisted he hadn't been identified as a suspect during an investigation triggered by a VRT probe.  However, prosecutors maintain he has been identified as a suspect implicitly as an investigation was launched.

The far right activist confirmed he was working on a new media channel: "a news channel that will counter your (VRT) fake news and lies" he told VRT TV.