Roger Helmer MEP

4 Mar 2012 09:08:23

Rupert Matthews condemns Roger Helmer MEP's betrayal

By Tim Montgomerie
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Yesterday I reported Roger Helmer MEP's regrettable decision to defect to UKIP.

Mr Helmer defected after he had announced his hope to retire and then after ConHQ had refused to appoint Rupert Matthews as his successor. Mr Matthews was ranked next in the East Midlands list of MEP candidates.

Rupert Matthews reacted yesterday afternoon and condemned Roger Helmer's decision as a betrayal:

"I am shocked and disappointed at Roger Helmer’s decision to betray his public promises to the people of the East Midlands and his private promises to his colleagues. Since Roger announced that he was standing down as the MEP, many people in the East Midlands have spent a considerable amount of time and effort in preparing for Roger’s retirement, my taking his place in Brussels and the unavoidable upheavals that this would have entailed. I myself was looking forward very much to representing the people of the East Midlands and the Conservative Party in the European Parliament. It is unfortunate that all this time and effort has been rendered useless by Roger’s actions. I wish to make it clear that I have no intention of following Roger to UKIP and that I will continue to serve the Conservative Party as loyally as I have in the 28 years since I joined the party. I will be working hard to ensure the return of Conservative candidates in the local elections in May and at the next European Election in 2014."

3 Mar 2012 07:26:57

Roger Helmer MEP explains why he has defected from the Conservatives to UKIP

By Tim Montgomerie
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Helmer Farage

Roger Helmer MEP has announced that he is leaving the Conservative Party and joining the United Kingdom Independence Party.  Helmer has been an MEP for the East Midlands region since 1999, having been re-elected in 2004 and again in 2009.  He has made his concerns over Conservative policy very public in recent months, not least on the pages of ConHome.  He made his announcement at UKIP’s Spring Conference in Skegness - the premier seaside resort in his East Midlands Region.
Commenting on his decision, Helmer says:

“The fact is that UKIP represents the values and convictions of East Midlands Conservatives much better than Cameron’s Tory Party does.  I believe I can do a better job representing those views and interests as a member of UKIP than I could in the Tory Party.  The European project is collapsing before our eyes, yet the three main parties remain wedded to the Brussels dream.  UKIP is the only party which is ahead of the curve on this issue, and on other issues as well”.

He has written the following letter to colleagues in the Conservative Party.

"Dear Colleagues,
I am writing to let you know that after a great deal of thought, and much heart-searching, I have decided to leave the Conservative Party, and to join the United Kingdom Independence Party.
After decades with the Conservative Party, this has been a tough decision to take.  I well understand that many of my friends and colleagues in the Party will greet the news with dismay, and I greatly regret that.

Continue reading "Roger Helmer MEP explains why he has defected from the Conservatives to UKIP" »

14 Feb 2012 10:06:06

The European Parliament flies the Union Jack upside down

By Tim Montgomerie
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Earlier today Roger Helmer MEP tweeted that the Union Flag was flying upside down outside of the European Parliament. Here's the proof:


Mr Helmer has written to the President of the Parliament asking for the insult to be corrected:

"Arriving at the parliament this morning around 7:00 a.m., I noticed that in the line of national flags, the flag of my country, the Union jack, was flying upside down (as it was when I first arrived at the Strasbourg parliament in 1999).  May I ask if this is merely an oversight, or a deliberate snub? May I also ask what action you propose to take to ensure that this does not happen again?"

12 Oct 2011 09:05:28

Roger Helmer MEP to resign from the European Parliament

By Matthew Barrett
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HELMER ROGERRoger Helmer, a Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands region has written to the Chairman of the East Midlands Conservatives, Stephen Mold, to announce his resignation from the European Parliament. Mr Helmer has been an MEP since 1999 and is known for his staunchly Eurosceptic views.

Mr Helmer's letter says:

"I am writing to you now to advise you that I shall be resigning my seat in the European parliament effective December 31st this year. 

As with any major decision, this is driven by a number of factors.  Some might say that it is high time I stood aside for a younger man.  For myself, I think that twelve-and-a-half years banging my head against the same brick wall in Brussels is perhaps long enough.  And I should certainly like to see more of my three fine grandsons. 

But it would be disingenuous to deny that my decision is dictated in part by my increasing disillusion with the attitudes of the Conservative Party.  I am finding it ever more difficult to defend the policies of the Coalition, not only on my key issues of Europe, and of climate and energy, but on a range of other matters besides. 

I will have more to say about this in coming days. 

At this point I must express my thanks to all those, too numerous to mention individually, who have helped and supported me up and down the Region since 1999 – to the Party supporters and activists, and indeed the voters, who have three times selected me, and elected me, at the head of the East Midlands MEP list, as well as to all those who supported the successful “Reinstate Roger” campaign when I had the Party Whip temporarily withdrawn. 

But some names I must mention.  Three previous regional Chairmen, Nigel Cutts, Dudley Bryant and most recently Linda Kirk, have been hugely supportive, even though I have not always made life easy for them.  I am grateful to David Surtees, who has been present in one rôle or another throughout my political career, and to Simon Richards of The Freedom Association who has been a trusty comrade-in-arms for many years. 

I am especially grateful to Chris Heaton-Harris, who for ten years in the European parliament was the best colleague I could have hoped to have – and to the other members of “the H-Block”.  And I should thank all those former staffers who have passed through my office, especially Sally McNamara and Cat Bray (both now in political roles in Washington) and Lydia Smith, just starting work in Westminster with Mark Lancaster MP. 

I should also thank my current staffers Joe Bono and Neelam Cartmell, and of course my current East Midlands colleague Emma McClarkin MEP, for their help and support. 

It is my understanding that my place will be taken automatically by Rupert Matthews, who was next-in-line on the 2009 Conservative list.  Rupert is a very sound man indeed, and well known in the region, and I have absolute confidence that he will serve the voters of the East Midlands with great skill and diligence.  He has been a good friend and colleague both to me and to Chris Heaton-Harris for many years, and we have worked together on a number of projects.  Most recently, Rupert has edited and published my latest book “Sceptic at Large”. 

I will no doubt be asked about my plans for retirement, but so far I have no plan beyond taking a long and well-earned rest. 

Again, thank you for your help and support, and I wish you, and the region, all the best for the future."

9.30am Update: Rupert Matthews, who, as Mr Helmer writes above, will take the vacant seat, comments:

"Roger Helmer will be a tough act to follow. I first met Roger when we were both campaigning in the 1999 European Elections - he as a candidate and I as a Conservative Party activist. I recall I was with a team of volunteers preparing to go out delivering leaflets when Roger appeared and with a few words enthused us all to go out on to the pavements. Since then Roger has done a fine job of representing the East Midlands out in Brussels and Strasbourg. I hope to continue Roger's superb work of responding to the needs of East Midlands residents, businesses and communities, and to representing their interests in Brussels.  It will be an honour to follow Roger in the task of battling the ever increasing federalism of the EU by representing the people of the East Midlands and the Conservative Party in the European Parliament."

29 Apr 2009 10:45:32

Roger Helmer: Working Time opt-out safe - until European elections

Roger Helmer MEP East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer has commented in light of another failed attempt to scrap the Working Time Directive opt-out. Talks took place between the Commission, Parliament and Council of Ministers with the aim of hammering out a deal. But they collapsed on Tuesday morning and the issue now looks to have been put to bed until after the European elections.

Mr Helmer said:

"The result of this breakdown in negotiations is that the opt-out remains secure until the next time Labour MEPs have a chance to undermine it. Our right to choose our own working hours is safe for now.

Over three million people in the UK work more than 48 hours a week, and in these tough times it is more important than ever that people should have the free choice of how best to fend for their families. This outcome is good news not just for the East Midlands retained fire-fighters and care home workers who feared for their livelihoods: it is good news for ordinary workers throughout the area who just want to get on with their job.

The collapse in these talks is an opportunity to tear up the Working Time Directive. Over half of EU countries want to opt-out of the directive and two-thirds find it impossible to implement. The Working Time Directive is a duff directive and should be scrapped. We do not need a prescriptive Diktat from left-wing politicians dictating how many hours people should graciously be permitted by Brussels to work."

24 Apr 2009 12:08:57

Roger Helmer on good news for anglers

Roger Helmer MEP I have previously reported that the European Union was threatening recreational anglers with absorption into the Common Fisheries Policy.

A vote in the European Parliament this week has got them off the hook.

Article 47 of the proposed regulation would have forced recreational fishermen to register their boats. Their catch would have been counted against the fisheries quota for their country. Nations would additionally be made to allocate a share of their quota for each fish species to both commercial and recreational fishermen.


However, the European Parliament Fisheries Committee backed a Conservative proposal to reword the legislation so that national governments could decide whether they would include recreational fishermen in the regulation. The Parliament has now supported this position.


East Midlands Conservative MEP Roger Helmer commented:

"The Parliament's approval of this amendment, together with assurances we have received from Commissioner Borg, reassures me that recreational anglers have nothing to fear from the revised article 47.


During the debate he told us he wished all member states to conduct an analysis of the impact recreational angling has on fish stocks. 


I hope he will accept the view of the European parliament, who rejected this by an overwhelming majority and accepted the Conservative amendment that leaves it up to individual countries whether they apply these measures or not.


Rather than attacking anglers, the European Commission must sort out the crazy situation with discards, where millions of tons of healthy fish are wasted every year."

26 Mar 2009 12:53:56

MEPs call for the Strasbourg Parliament to be scrapped

Strasbourg parliament Chris Heaton-Harris and Roger Helmer are both MEPs for the East Midlands. Together they have put out a press release urging the scrapping of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This would have to be done by national governments, and last week Timothy Kirkhope wrote to Gordon Brown (who was in Strasbourg this week) on the matter.

Twelve times a year MEPs travel 250 miles from Brussels to Strasbourg (on the Franco-German border). Mr Helmer and Mr Heaton-Harris estimate the cost at £180 million annually, and say it causes tens of thousands of tonnes of CO2 to be emitted. 

Mr Helmer said:

"Moving the European Parliament from one country to another is completely pointless and a huge waste of taxpayers' money. There is no practical reason why we should go to Strasbourg as we have all the facilities we need in Brussels.

The two-seat operation of the European Parliament is a small amount of money compared to the vast debts being run up by our government this year, which are now larger than the entire EU budget; but scrapping it would send an important message that the EU is serious about cutting waste."

Mr Heaton-Harris added: 

"Conservative MEPs have led the campaign against the Strasbourg parliament. It is time for Gordon Brown to finally raise the issue with his European counterparts and demand they end this profligacy.

We need strong leadership from our Prime Minister if we are to end this unacceptable situation. For all his bluster and lecturing on the economy, he has failed to seize on one important piece of waste in the EU budget that could be slashed tomorrow."

This is a worthy cause, but I doubt it'll be successful any time soon ... not when Franco-German pride is at stake!

Tom Greeves

19 Mar 2009 17:38:22

Roger Helmer worried about improper Irish "information campaign" on Lisbon Treaty

Roger Helmer MEP East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer has commented in light of reports that the European Commission is plotting an "information campaign" - intended to sway the outcome of the second referendum in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty.

In 2007 former Green MEP Patricia McKenna complained to the Irish Broadcasting Complaints Commission that Commission's campaign in Ireland was clearly intended to influence the outcome of the (first) referendum. The complaint was upheld, resulting in the EU Commission's commercials being ruled political and thus in conflict with Irish broadcasting rules.

Mr Helmer believes that the Commission is having another go, and said:

"It is scandalous enough that the EU institutions have rejected the democratic decision of the Irish people in the first referendum, and are demanding a second referendum -- although the EU repeatedly rejects NO votes and requires member-states to vote again.  But to use tax-payers' money to influence the outcome is a disgrace.  The EU is fundamentally anti-democratic, and examples like this prove the point". 

Continue reading "Roger Helmer worried about improper Irish "information campaign" on Lisbon Treaty" »

19 Mar 2009 11:58:37

European Parliamentarians told to use "gender-neutral language"

Here's something you'll like.

The European Parliament (which I visited with my colleage Jonathan Isaby this week; more later) has announced its intention to use gender-neutral language. Harald Romer, Secretary-General of the European Parliament, writes:

"The European Parliament is committed to using gender-neutral language in its publications and communications and is now the first of the institutions to provide language-specific guidance on gender-neutral language in all the Community's working languages. Drawn up by a working group under the auspices of Parliament's High-Level Group on Gender Equality, these guidelines were the fruit of long and close collaboration among the relevant linguistic services and provide suggestions and examples for each specific working language


I now invite all colleagues to read the guidelines in their working languages and apply them in all parliamentary publications and written communications."

An immense effort has been made to avoid offence, and it would be childish to pour scorn on it by highlighting some of the more absurd examples.

These are some of the more absurd examples:

'Synthetic artificial' as an alternative to 'man-made';

"Omit the pronoun altogether' ('an official's salary is dependant on his length of service')";

If it's impossible to avoid then "use 'he or she', but do so sparingly and avoid repeating it more than once in the same sentence.";

'Business person', rather than businessman;

"'Chairperson' should be avoided, as the tendency has been to use it only when referring to women. 'Chair' should be used consistently for both sexes";

'Midwife' "for both sexes; there is no accepted alternative for male midwives".

The guidance generously acknowledges that "the major cultural differences in this area between different European languages" have the impact of making it "impossible to harmonise usage fully within the European Parliament". That will come as a relief to French and German speakers, who assign genders to inanimate objects.

One of the charming gals in East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer's office forwarded me a copy of his letter to Hans-Gert Pottering MEP, the President of the European Parliament:

"Dear Hans-Gert,

Gender-Neutral language
I have just had an opportunity to look at the booklet "Gender-Neutral language in the European parliament", distributed by Harold Romer in what seems to be his final message of insult and defiance to MEPs before his recent and unlamented departure.
The booklet starts from the preposterous proposition that "in most contexts a person's sex is -- or should be -- irrelevant".  This is an extraordinary piece of nonsense, even by the parliament's standards.  In fact a person's sex is absolutely fundamental to their sense of identity.  It is an essential part of who they are, how they wish to be characterised, and how they relate to other people.
Neither men nor women in the real world seek to be regarded as ambiguous, androgynous hermaphrodites.  They want to be seen and respected for what they are -- as men or women.  Have we not paused to notice that both men and women spend large sums of money on clothes and other artefacts that clearly identify their gender, or that women (and increasingly men as well) spend a great deal on gender-specific toiletries and cosmetics?  They do this to assert their identity as women or men, and we in this parliament have no business to disregard that identity.
This politically-correct determination to ignore real and important gender differences is both pointless and ridiculous, and makes our institution a laughing-stock.  It is also an insult to real people who are comfortable with their gender identity, and expect it to be respected, not least in forms of address.
I would urge you to withdraw this booklet immediately, with (if possible) an apology.  I should also be glad to know who authorised it, how many copies were printed and in how many languages, to whom they were distributed, and how much they cost."
This is by no means all I'll write in light of my visit to Brussels, but I simply had to share it with you boys and girls.

Tom Greeves

16 Mar 2009 13:55:56

Daniel Hannan - every child in UK born with £30,000 debt

South East England MEP Daniel Hannan had made another speech, this time on the financial crisis, and invoked the Bard.

It seems most readers will be pleased to note that Mr Hannan was dressed in a suit and tie! (Although his colleague Roger Helmer went tieless.) And I promise that this is the last sartorial observation I will make on these pages for some time.

Tom Greeves

5 Feb 2009 11:24:25

Roger Helmer condemns climate change alarmism

East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer has spoken in a plenary session on the Florenz Report to condemn climate change alarmism.

Here is his speech: