By Matthew Barrett
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Conservative Friends of Israel is an influential affiliate group of the Conservative Party which contains perhaps the largest number of Conservative MPs of any group in Parliament. It exists to promote understanding of and support for the State of Israel in the Conservative Party, and its membership reaches the highest echelons of power, including the Foreign Secretary, William Hague. In this profile, I examine its origins, membership, role, and activities.
Origins of the group
Conservative Friends of Israel (CFoI) is the oldest group of Conservative MPs I have profiled so far: it was founded by Michael Fidler, who was the Conservative Member of Parliament for Bury and Radcliffe between 1970 and the October 1974 election. After losing his seat, he decided to focus on building a pro-Israel group within the Conservative Party - there had been a Labour Friends of Israel group since 1957 - so Fidler launched CFoI in 1974, and served as its National Director.
Sir Hugh Fraser served as the first Chairman of CFoI, from 1974. Sir Hugh was a Conservative MP of the old school: after a distinguished military intelligence career in the Second World War, he entered Parliament in 1945, and he missed out on being Father of the House to James Callaghan in 1983 by only a few days. Sir Hugh had an interest in oil and the Middle East and served a number of positions in the War and Colonial Offices, before entering Cabinet as the Secretary of State for Air in 1962. He might be best known to some readers as the outsider candidate who came third in the 1975 party leadership contest, behind Mrs Thatcher and Edward Heath, gaining only 16 votes.
Friday, October 26, 2012 in Alistair Burt MP, Andrew Percy MP, Andrew Rosindell MP, Angie Bray MP, Bob Blackman MP, Chloe Smith MP, Chris Kelly MP, Chris White MP, David Amess MP, David Burrowes MP, David Cameron MP, George Osborne MP, Graham Brady MP, Graham Evans MP, Guto Bebb MP, Heather Wheeler MP, Iain Duncan Smith MP, Jack Lopresti MP, James Arburthnot MP, James Clappison MP, James Morris MP, James Wharton MP, Jamie McGrigor, Jessica Lee MP, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Lee Scott MP, Lord Howard of Lympne, Malcolm Rifkind, Michael Howard MP, Nadhim Zahawi MP, Neil Parish MP, Nigel Adams MP, Phillip Lee MP, Priti Patel MP, Robert Halfon MP, Timothy Kirkhope MEP, William Hague MP | Permalink | Comments
Member for the Highlands and Islands Sir Jamie McGrigor made an excellent speech. He bemoaned the impact of fuel prices and discards on the industry:
"I am grateful for the chance to speak once again in a fisheries debate. However, rather than speak about fish, I wish to speak about the people who fish for them and the people on the mainland whose jobs depend on the industry: we should never forget that for every job at sea there are four on land. Fishing is one of Scotland's most important primary industries, so it is absurd that the Scottish fishing fleet, which has done more for conservation measures than any other fleet in Europe, has continually to bear more pain than any other fleet in the EU.
I am well aware of the impact that the meteoric rise in fuel prices—which doubled between 2007 and 2008 from 30p to 60p a litre for marine diesel—had on the fishing industry, particularly on smaller vessels, many of which simply had to stop fishing. Fuel prices have since reduced, but we must ensure that our Government is better prepared should that happen again, especially as fishermen from other member states received direct help with their fuel costs through de minimis aid payments, which also put our fishing people at a competitive disadvantage.
Others have mentioned the appalling waste and the damage to the marine environment that are caused by discards. Can anyone member justify throwing dead fish back into the sea? It makes a mockery of the CFP."
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