Timothy Kirkhope: Why I want to lead the Conservative MEPs
Timothy Kirkhope is MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber and is next week standing for the leadership of the group of Tory MEPs against James Elles, who set out his stall on Platform yesterday. Below is the text of the letter which Mr Kirkhope has written to fellow MEPs inviting them to support him, which we reproduce below with his permission.
I am proud of my record whilst I was the Leader of our delegation between 2004 and 2007. During those 3 years we demonstrated that we were powerful players in the European Parliament and we also maintained a high level of respect from the Party Leadership in London. The work that I did in connection with our re-selection process has not only resulted in proper recognition of our incumbency (on a par with Westminster MPs) but also resulted in a number of excellent new candidates, especially female candidates, in winnable positions next time.
My negotiations with William Hague and David Cameron with regard to our future status were constructive and responsible and resulted in a sensible outcome in 2006, and that good relationship will also be of great continuing benefit to the delegation in the critical period which lies ahead, as will my good contacts with Westminster colleagues in both Houses of Parliament.
Internally, we have achieved successes with our influential positions in Brussels which, of course, were entirely merited by those who assumed them, but I believe that my persuasion and involvement in exercising influence was instrumental in getting us the best overall outcome.
We must do well in next year's Election and I would intend to make sure that we do that by using the talents of all members on our Regional lists, including sitting and returning MEPs in the campaign and then afterwards as we involve ourselves in the negotiations and discussions towards meeting David Cameron's commitment on our future alignments.
We will be losing the services of some very experienced colleagues at the Election and therefore I believe that my own experience both here and formerly at Westminster will be important following it.
Whilst I am proud of my previous term as Leader, I appreciate that we must be looking to the future as to how the delegation is organized and run. I will ensure that the next year will be one of consultation, discussion, and debate involving every colleague. As part of a more open approach I intend, for instance, to hold regular Press Briefings in the company of key spokesmen, where we will set out our plans. Also, as part of the process I intend to delegate, wherever possible, responsibilities to colleagues so that they can help me and David Cameron meet the challenges ahead for this Delegation.