James Elles has been an MEP since 1984 and is next week standing to be leader (chairman) of the group of Conservative MEPs.
I am standing for Chairman in this election as the candidate pledged to help strengthen the reputation and respect of our UK Delegation, in the eyes of both our electorate and the Conservative Party at home.
We have been through some difficult times in recent months. We must put these behind us and look forward to the future with optimism, adopting a pro-active strategy for influence, rather than fall back on tired old solutions. We must develop a clear vision as to how best we can contribute our ideas, abilities and experience to help shape Party policy on Europe and the big domestic challenges ahead. How can this be done?
As we approach the European elections next year, we must show the electorate that the Delegation reflects the various strands of opinion within the Party, working together for the common good for those they represent. It should therefore be led by someone who wants an open approach, communicating with and listening to all members of the Delegation. The hallmark of our conduct must be one of transparency and forthrightness.
I believe that I have a strong contribution to make to develop this vision. Since my election in June 1984, I have not only a continuous record of being active in the Thames Valley both within the Party, with first class relationships with MPs, as well as with business and civic organisations there.