One of Nye Borgerlige’s (“New Right” in English) four MPs, Mette Thiesen, responded to a question on a radio programme by saying it was okay for an elderly person to refuse care from anyone they did not want in their home, even if the refusal was based on that person being Jewish or gay.
Speaking to DR’s P1 Morgen programme, Thiesen was asked whether it would be acceptable to for people who receive home care to refuse a carer if that person was, for example, Jewish or gay.
In response, she said that “very generally, as an elderly person you must have the option to say ‘no’ to people who are entering your home”.
Pelle Dragsted, a former member of parliament with the left wing Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) party, tweeted the radio clip, writing “it is very, very concerning that there is a party that thinks antisemitic views should be a legitimate reason to refuse carers”.
In a Facebook post, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen wrote that “Nye Borgelige apparently think that you should be able to refuse elderly care staff – including based on homosexuality, or if they are Jewish”.
“That is a proposal which is destructive for all societies, including the Danish one,” she wrote, adding that staff should be “judged on their qualifications. Nothing else.”
Nye Borgerlige leader Pernille Vermund subsequently said the far-right party “has not proposed Jewish and homosexual people should be kept out of home social care”, but that elderly people should always be able to decide who they allow into their home.
“The rules today are already such that it’s the elderly person alone who decides who they want to let into their home”, she added.
“We think that Jews, Muslims and homosexuals can be just as good carers as anyone else and there is no objective reason to reject a carer because of religion or sexual orientation alone,” she wrote in a blog post.
She added that elderly persons should be allowed to decide who they allow into their homes but that they cannot expect local authorities to provide an alternative carer should they turn someone away.
The Nye Borgerlige party wants to tighten Denmark’s immigration laws and hold a referendum on EU membership. It entered the Danish parliament at the 2019 election, establishing itself as part of the ‘blue bloc’ of allied parties on the right of Danish politics.
The party is projected to gain around four seats at the election according to current polling.
Thiesen’s comment is linked to an earlier discussion during Denmark’s election build-up, in which a similar question was posed in relation to carers who wear the Muslim head scarf, hijab.
After another far-right party, the Danish People’s Party, said it would support new rules allowing elderly people to refuse care from staff who wear the hijab, other conservative parties said they did not share that stance.
At the time, Vermund said that her party did not want a change in the rules, as existing rules already allowed for free choice in the area.
“There’s nothing new in this. The rules are already such that it’s the free choice of the individual, firstly whether they want home care, and secondly who they want to provide that care,” party leader Pernille Vermund said.
“This isn’t something we’re proposing,” Vermund said, calling the issue a “strange discussion” and “something that came up based on a question from a journalist”.