- Briton told to leave for 'concealing true activity'
- Jewish groups welcome interior ministry's order
The unexpected decision cited the bishop's Holocaust denial as well as his alleged failure to reveal "his true activity" in Argentina. He had apparently registered as an employee of a non-governmental group.
"The interior minister ... orders Richard Nelson Williamson to leave the country within 10 days or be expelled," the statement said. Jewish groups welcomed the move. Julio Schlosser, general secretary of the Jewish social welfare organisation Amia, said Williamson's views "affects the civic harmony and the social peace that this country needs so much".
The British-born cleric has been at the centre of a storm since last month when the Pope lifted his excommunication to try to heal a rift between the Vatican and rebels in the breakaway Society of St Pius X (SSPX). The decision provoked anger because Williamson had recently repeated claims there were no Nazi gas chambers and that the number of Jews killed in the second world war was 300,000 rather than 6 million.
"I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against, is hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler," he said.
Protests by Jewish groups and the German government rattled the Vatican and imperilled a papal trip to Israel. To try to repair the damage the pope hosted Jewish leaders in Rome and said the Nazis' attempt to wipe out European Jewry was a "crime against God".
He said he had been unaware of Williamson's views and had ordered him to recant.
Williamson, who describes himself on his personal blog as a dinosaur, offered to reconsider his views with fresh reading about the Nazi genocide. "And if I find this evidence, I will correct myself. But that will take time," he said. Argentina's decision means that research is likely to take place elsewhere.