By Roger Helmer MEP.
On Friday I went to Norwich at the invitation of the Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia (UEA), home of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) which has been much in the news in the last twelve months.
I had been invited following a correspondence with one of UEA’s academic staff. A couple of months before, I had asked if I could bring a couple of colleagues. They said yes. A week or so later, they asked for the names (and any special dietary requirements). I replied Lord Monckton of Brenchley, and James Delingpole of the Daily Telegraph. For the next week or so I held my breath, fearing that they might not like to receive two prominent sceptics, but there was no further response. Not, at least, until a couple of days before the meeting, when I received an apologetic e-mail. They had just noticed who my proposed companions were.
Apparently protocol would not allow the VC to meet “political activists”. If Lord Monckton and Delingpole had any questions, they were free to approach the UEA’s Press Office. (In passing, I have to say it seems rather odd to describe Lord Monckton as a “political activist”. An hereditary Peer of the Realm, a former adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a highly respected commentator on the climate issue, and Deputy Leader of the party that came in second place in the 2009 euro-elections. In any case, I like to regard myself, in my small way, as a political activist, and the VC was prepared to see me.)
I replied that this was deeply embarrassing to me, as I knew that Lord Monckton had made extensive (and expensive) changes to his travel schedule, between a financial conference in China and a business meeting in New York, specifically to attend the UEA meeting. In reply, they made an extraordinary proposal: Lord Monckton could not meet the VC with me, but he could have a separate meeting after my meeting was concluded. I decided to invite, on my own initiative, another MEP, Stuart Agnew of Eastern Region. They could scarcely refuse another parliamentarian.