[b]Tory activist expelled from party after dressing as Madeleine McCann for New Year's bash
A young Conservative who attended a fancy dress party as Madeleine McCann was last night lambasted for his ' disgraceful' behaviour.
Maddie's parents Kate and Gerry were said to be appalled after hearing that Matthew Lewis, 23, a chairman for Conservative Future, dressed up as the missing five-year-old for a New Year's Eve party.
A spokesman for the couple said they were stunned at the insensitivity and lack of taste shown by the young man and called on him to apologise publicly and in private to them. Offensive': Matthew Lewis, far left, at an event with David Cameron - the young Tory wrote his Madeleine McCann costume would include a blonde wig, 'pink pyjamas, a teddy bear and a vial of fake blood'
The stunt also shocked Tory top brass, who expelled him from the party.
In a series of entries on the social networking site Facebook, Mr Lewis said he would need a pair of pink pyjamas, a blonde wig, a teddy bear and a vial of fake blood to complete his transformation into Madeleine McCann.
Mr Lewis - who was said to have hopes of becoming a MP and has been photographed with Tory leader David Cameron - later confesses on the site that he may have gone too far with his outfit.
But, he adds: 'It was okay. Someone else was Baby P,' referring to the toddler who died after suffering horrific abuse in Haringey, North London.
A spokesman for the McCanns said: 'The offensiveness of these actions is almost beyond belief and we have no idea what he could have been thinking of and we are pleased that the Conservative Party has taken swift action against this individual.
'The actions of this man are not only disgraceful but they are also very, very hurtful to Kate and Gerry McCann and the family, who will be absolutely appalled to hear about what was done.'
Mr Lewis, a graduate of Keele University, lives in Petersfield near Guildford, Surrey.
Last night he issued a statement, which read: 'I unreservedly apologise to Mr and Mrs McCann for my actions.
'I completely regret my behaviour that night and since, and cannot express how sorry I am for the incredible hurt I have caused.
'Whilst my actions were not meant to be malicious, I fully understand the pain they have brought.'
Tory Party chairman Caroline Spelman said she and other party members were shocked by Mr Lewis's actions.
She said: 'This offensive behaviour is not only shocking but intolerable and completely unacceptable. There is no place for this sort of person in the party.'
Friends of Mr Lewis claim he resigned as area chairman of the Staffordshire branch of Conservative Future before the party.
But one activist said: 'That's rubbish. He jumped before he was pushed.
'Young Tories need to understand that Conservative Future is not some merry drinking club for a bunch of idiots.'
The sick Facebook exchanges begin on December 30 with: 'Matt needs some pink pyjamas, a teddy bear and a vial of fake blood.'
A man identified as Ross Malone responds: 'Evil.' Mr Lewis then writes: 'Oh, and a blonde wig.'
The exchange continues on December 31, New Year's Eve, when, in a parody of the TV programme Stars in their Eyes
Mr Lewis announces: 'Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be... Maddie McCann' and boasts:
'It's my bad taste party outfit.'
On New Year's Day friend Flick Cox asks: 'Hey chicken how did the Maddie outfit go down. I ran a straw poll at my party about it and they have decided that I have some really sick friends.'
Mr Lewis: 'There was a brief moment where I thought I'd gone too far with elements of the costume, but it was okay. Someone else was Baby P.'
Miss Cox: 'Oh My God! Now Baby P really is sick! What was the costume like? I know I shall regret saying this but I can't wait to see the photos!'
Mr Lewis: 'I'll tell you another time! There may not be photos, I don't think anyone wants to risk being associated with them.'
Miss Cox: 'I am quite glad about that, I would hate to have to end our friendship when I become an MP because you had pulled a Prince Harry!!!.'
Miss Cox was presumably referring to the time Prince Harry wore a swastika armband to a party.
Madeleine McCann vanished while on holiday with her family in Portugal in May 2007.