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This article delights me. Needless to say, I agree with it. In fact I'd pay UKIP to take some of our deranged euro-obsessed members to join their nutty ranks!

I didn't like his article on Islamic Jihad, Europe, and war in The Spectator, He was off the mark then and is off the mark now. It looks as if Rifkind's lot are looking to 'clause 4' the Conservative party on the issue of the EU.

He puts to shame the name of One Nation Toryism. The EU isn't part of the nation and thus we should not be applying One Nation principles in our attitude to it.

"The Bagehot column wonders if the defections will convince voters that David Cameron's changes to the party are "for real." "After all, change that doesn't upset some people isn't change at all,"

I agree with Sir Malcolm Rifkind on this issue, I also think that the defections do show the voters that the party is changing. As I pointed out on an earlier post, David Cameron should hold the door open for them and stop them slamming it behind them. I think this is the "clause 4" moment and Cameron has to remain firm on his agenda about changing the party and the perceptions the public have about us.

Justin, The Conservative Party is a broad church, we cannot take this attitude to the right of the party.
We must embrace them, work with them to ensure maximum Conservative Party gains at the next election. What we must also do is show the right of the party that we central right Tories can fight against federalism within the EU. So far this hasn't happened, but it needs to happen, and fast.

Scotty, we don't need a clause 4 moment, we don't need the EU to be our clause 4 moment.

We are not the Labour party and we should not be trying to emulate the new Labour technique. We need action and policy, not a change in principles.

Our principles are the foundation stone of who we are, without them we are nothing. I would have thought that 10 years of one Blairite catastrophe after another would have made this clear to everyone. Principles are the bedrock of sound government.

"Rifkind welcomes defections to UKIP" - Of course he does, because it would leave the Tory party under the unchallenged control of the europhiles.

People are forced to leave ships when they are sinking... In this case it is a goodly percentage of the crew - who have worked hard to get the Party elected in the past - who are leaving. The Captain ought to consider how he will sail the ship on his own. Not only is the Conservative ship taking on water, but it is being sailed in the wrong direction, straight for the alien shores of Blair-land - it is no longer registered as conservative, but now sails under a flag of convenience. (a red one...) That is why the membership crew is disembarking. By March, after non-renewals begin to hit, made worse by the membership fee going to up £25, perhaps even the captain will begin to notice that there are not enough people left to make the engines work any more...

In a situation like this many will jump ship, to one going in the right way, and even more will just vanish away, like the Bromley voters, never to be seen near a ballot box again.

"Justin, The Conservative Party is a broad church, we cannot take this attitude to the right of the party."
WillB, exactly! And my comments are not about the "right" of the party but rather the minority little group of people who feel that they can actively and openly attack the conservative party through UKIP in this way, by trying to damage a leader elected just over a year on a mandate of change.
Many of the "right wing" members of the party may not be happy with all the changes, but neither would they actively try and damage the party in this way.
The people Sir Malcolm Rifkind refers too, are people who would try and use guerilla tactics outside the party to try and force the removal of David Cameron and that is not acceptable.

"If some Europhobes wish to defect to UKIP," he wrote, "as a result of the Conservative line on Europe, then that only highlights the degree of our reasonableness."

An increasing number of Conservative voters are now moving to the UKIP despite of the Conservative line on Europe, not because of it!

The fact that Rifkind doesn't recognise the much broader grounds for dissatisfaction is indicative of just how out of touch the party is becoming.

Scotty, I doubt all those who have left the party for UKIP are as you describe. Yes there may be a minority of them, however that's only a wee bit of those who have left for UKIP or just left, not rejoining another party. The problem I have with what Rifkind is saying is that he'd love to see a load of Eurosceptics leave the party.

"If some Europhobes wish to defect to UKIP, as a result of the Conservative line on Europe, then that only highlights the degree of our reasonableness."

I think that quote illustrates the problem I have with Rifkind. Sure, I'm happy to see those who wish to simply cause trouble, who are actually rather malicious go and never darken our door again. However this is simply not the case with many of the defectors.

Effectively, Rifkind and his group are trying to turn the EU into a clause 4 issue, as you have also pointed out, and force many to the side lines or simply out of the way all together. I find that unacceptable on two fronts.

1st. Because I don't feel we need a clause 4 moment
2nd. We need to retain and gain as many members as possible to keep the party with a broad balance of opinion and input.

P.S. Forcing people out of the party by touting a (let's be honest) very weak line on Europe is not what I call reasonable.

"An increasing number of Conservative voters are now moving to the UKIP despite of the Conservative line on Europe, not because of it!

The fact that Rifkind doesn't recognise the much broader grounds for dissatisfaction is indicative of just how out of touch the party is becoming."

But surely you must agree that the line on the EU is one of, if not -the- big problem.

These remarks do not surprise me.

He was a useless foreign secretary. I was sorry when my former constituency chose him as their Conservative candidate but their recent record is poor.

As ever, Sir Malcolm Rifkind represents the voice of sanity and reason with these eminently sensible comments on the utter insignificance of a handful of obscure, obsessive nobodies defecting to UKIP.

I haven't seen the full article, but I'm not sure the comments attributed to him above indicate that he is 'welcoming' the defections though, rather than highlighting that ditching political deadwood could have positive repercussions for the party.

I was disappointed that Malky didn't try for the new Fulham and Chelsea seat. It would have been amusing to see him get pummelled by Greg Hands.

A washed up old malcontent who urgently needs to be hustled to the knacker's yard.

Unless I am missing something, Rifkin has told, say, 65% of Tory members to leave and join UKIP!

The leaders of the Conservative Party still think,even after almost 35 years of trying,that the E.U. can be changed from the inside. However many Conservative members have realised that it is impossible to be in the E.U. but not controlled by it.That is why the drift to U.K.I.P. will continue.It is time people like Rifkind tried to understand the despair and frustration of Euro-sceptics.

Take anything Rifkind says on Europe with a pinch of salt. Having harboured ambitions to lead the party in the past, he has tried to tread the fine line of "reasonableness" on Europe, but the fact is he's a Europhile through and through.

But for what it's worth, I'd bet that the OTHERS vote at the next election will be much higher than in 2005. And this simply cannot be helpful to our party.


Wasn't Mr Rifkind himself "political deadwood" until Kenssington and Chelsea misguidedly resurrected him?

"Rather the prism through which to view integration should be defined by a moderate Euroscepticism" Malcolm Rifkind

Me thinks he is looking down the wrong end of his blinkered monocular.

"people understood that withdrawal from Europe was an "utterly reckless and untenable proposition."
Typical EUphile slur;
As a lawyer this lack of precision from Malcolm is clearly both deliberate
and pathetic

"A washed up old malcontent who urgently needs to be hustled to the knacker's yard."
Sir Malcolm Rifkind has always been an extremely well liked and respected politician in Scotland, and that includes members of other parties and the general public.
He really worked hard in 2001 and nearly one a seat of Labour, that should speak volumes.
It was an excellent result in 2001 in Scotland for a conservative PPC.

He was run out of town on a rail nonetheless, though?

The hopelessness of Rifkind's position is that those he is attacking are simply telling the truth.

Were defections to the Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties welcomed? I do not think so. Take a look at the long list of TRG defections


"Wasn't Mr Rifkind himself "political deadwood" until Kenssington and Chelsea misguidedly resurrected him?"

Well that's your opinion and you're entitled to it, but I completely disagree with you.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind possesses a degree of ability, intelligence, empathy, wit and experience that is sorely missing from so many politicians these days.

Rather than being deadwood, Sir Malcolm is an asset to our party and is wasted on the backbenches, particularly as he could bring real gravitas to the shadow cabinet, which some might say it currently lacks.

Give me Tebbit over Rifkind any day.

Con Home editors


Ruth Turner, Blair's gatekeeper, has been arrested on charges of peverting the course of justice!

It is leading all the news bulletins! It is a disaster for government.

And you're updating Tory diary with *another sodding ukip story*??

I give up

Strange isn't it how yesterday the Party was trying to increase votes in the North, and yet one of the best results in the North at the General Election - Ryedale, had a very clear and precise message and position concerning the EU. If the Rifkind line had been taken the MP for Ryedale would have certainly not more than doubled his majority, against all the trends in the rest of Yorkshire.

Tory T

I almost always agree with you but on that you are completely right. Why bother with Rifkind
when the Turner story is running? Beats me too
despite my disatisfaction with Rifkind.

I doubt this will happen often, but I agree with Justin AND Esbonio; though it's Justin on Sir Malcolm and Esbonio on Turner :-0)

If you want to read about fruitcakes, nutters and closet racists then pay our site a little visit:


"It is leading all the news bulletins! It is a disaster for government.

And you're updating Tory diary with *another sodding ukip story*?? "

Absolutely, time and again we are discussing UKIP and not something important.

Agree with Rifkind though, the sort of people going to UKIP are the people that have been putting off voters and getting us called nasty.

Most Conservatives don't regard leaving the EU as "reckless and untenable". Not their immediately preferred option, but hardly out of the question.

channel 4 News has just revealed another defection to UKIP,that of the Earl of Dartmouth,President of a northern constituency association.He had more airtime than Cameron!

We don't need Rifkind telling our Members to move out of the Conservative Party nor ANYONE else to do so just because they are not 100% in favour of EVERYTHING in every Policy.

I very much doubt that there are many on here who can honestly say that they are 100% IN FAVOUR of EVERYTHING the Conservative Party wants to impliment.

It seems we are becoming more than a little nervous about the continuing threat from UKIP,I say this because UKIP has been mentioned more than twenty times previous to this post.

Get a grip,or,do as Rifkind says and just get out of the Party.

Perhaps Sir Malcolm with his ability, intelligence, empathy, wit and experience should be asked to head up an internal "Inquiry into how we lost Edinburgh Pentlands after nearly five decades, along with all our other seats in Scotland".

There must be a reason, some mistake which should be avoided in the future.

Rifkind is a clown. Can we talk about the dog days of this Government.

Has noone seen the CH4 7 o'clock news, from the north there spoke your target voters, excuse me but you stand more chance of stuffing smoke up a cats ass with a fork than getting those gritty people to vote Tory. The only Tory Scots MP is telling you to take account of the democratic deficit that prevails in the UK, Promise an English Parliament and I guarantee you'll get elected.

I too remember Rifkind's brief reincarnation as a Eurosceptic.

The Earl of Dartmouth has just defected to UKIP on Channel 4 News-------Sir Malcom will be pleased!

correction;sorry it should be Malcolm


You've given me a huge smile on my face.

Have a nice weekend.

It was Malcolm Rifkind, when Secretary of Defence, who closed own our Military Hospitals. He has a talent for wrong headedness. He's a closet Europhile who should be out out to grass.

NOW, Editor, please read Tory T's comment at 1909. Why on earth isn't Ruth Turner's travails first and foremost on this BLOG? Is this topic a bit like the recent proposed Defence cuts - is Mr Cameron reluctant to agree its discussion on ConservativeHome?

We must all br grateful for the services of Tim and Sam. A hundred and thanks and more. But we do very often seem to miss the opportunity of discussing massive stories which are not only of the greatest national and political importance, but are ones on which I think we might unsurprisingly find a great deal of agreement.

While I can understand those who want to see troublemakers leave the party I can't help but think a lot of Europhiles just don't like the fact that their views are a minority in the party and in the country as a whole.

I did not realise or had forgetten that Rifkind had got rid of the excellent service hospitals which myself, my siblings, parents uncles, aunts, and and I suspect grandparents benefitted from. I do remeber that when it was done I thought it was another kick in the face for our services.

"channel 4 News has just revealed another defection to UKIP,that of the Earl of Dartmouth,President of a northern constituency association.He had more airtime than Cameron!"

Oh Michael, just tell me where the story was in amongst the headlines on Cash for Honours and Celebrity Big Brother, did they get more airtime than Cameron as well? You have to laugh at the way that UKIP have been so cr*p at news management.

I must admit I agreed with Esbonio for once!
"We must all br grateful for the services of Tim and Sam. A hundred and thanks and more. But we do very often seem to miss the opportunity of discussing massive stories which are not only of the greatest national and political importance, but are ones on which I think we might unsurprisingly find a great deal of agreement."

Scotty; are you viewing the news through one of Sir Malcolm's prisms?

"While I can understand those who want to see troublemakers leave the party I can't help but think a lot of Europhiles just don't like the fact that their views are a minority in the party and in the country as a whole"

Richard, I disagree with your assumption that this is all about Europhiles any more than it is about the whole right wing of the party.
The conservative party is a broad church and the majority of the members, what ever their personal views on certain issues have remained loyal and worked hard throughout the bad times. Trying to undermine the democratically elected leader of the party is an attack on the conservative party and should be viewed in the same way as if it had come from Labour or the Libdems, with contempt!

"... elected on a mandate of change..." What about the mandate to leave the ultra-federalist EPP? That would be a change, and for the better...

Never forget the words of the sainted Baroness: "UKIP take Tory votes because they have a clearer and more principled position on the EU." Deal with it.

Rifkinds comments are irresponsible. Its not the high profile defections he should worry about but the flood of votes they are getting because the Tory party will not offer then the policy they want. This is a much bigger move among the voters than these politicians realise. The backlash to Bliar and sleaze means ordinary people, already sick to the teeth of politicians, will simply not vote for a fraud. They see camerons wishy washy stance as evidence of duplicity hence - "I'll vote UKIP"

These are notthe 'nutters' peopel suggest but often floating voters with nowhere to turn now that NuLab has been exposed. The risk is that we see the 'lost' voters come back to the polling booth if they are convinced there is something to rally round. Tory policy has nothing to 'rally round' for Tory supporters let alone the undecided.

Oh and there is of course the other issue of anti-EU policy would be wildly popular among voters, makes total common sense and yet again is being dismissed by idiot politicians. When will Cameron get the joke?

This is the chance for us to get elected with a proper mandate for reversing the damage done by Bliars PC years. simply offer a non-binding referendum to guage opinion on the EU, this will be enough to convince everyone that we intend to do the right thing.

In the eyes of the public there can never be an honest government while power rests in Brussels.

"The Earl of Dartmouth has just defected to UKIP on Channel 4 News-------Sir Malcom will be pleased!"

Gosh, surely not the Earl of Dartmouth himself?

How will the party manage without such an influential asset?

It'll be a sleepless night for the Camerons tonight that's for sure!

John Redwood must be installing the phone lines at his leadership campaign headquarters (although he could run such a campaign from a phonebox) as we speak!


Suggest those who wish to follow a Turner thread switch to Guido Fawkes (parental guidance)

SHock horro, Rifkind says something stupid again!

This man should just bog off to Brussels and stay there!

Oh dear, lets hope there are no floating voters in target seats reading this (and millions of other UKIP-related) thread.

Having said that, Malcolm Rifkind seriously needs to shut up - there are enough associations being split open by the Party's changes at the moment without him putting his beak in

Daniel VA (1904), it’s no use having “ability, intelligence, empathy, wit and experience…” and so on if you have the wrong ideas and policies ! Many Labour politicians (and maybe some LibDem ones too) have these qualities. We may as well have Mr Blair in our party if we are to look only for people with personality (he may be able to oppose Mr Brown more effectively from our ranks!!). Yes we need competent people (that’s not the same as media image), but they need the right (no pun intended) ideas and policies. “Nation” is surely a core Conservative belief. The Eurosceptic “right” may need more people with “gravitas”, and this is something that needs to be addressed. As does the need to get them and Conservatism projected better through the media.

On the subject of the EU, this is not the only issue, and Mr Cameron is right not to “bang on” about it as there are other things that worry voters more. But surely there must be a way of communicating the importance of this, especilally as voters are more Eurosceptic. Whether we can be a free nation, free from having laws imposed on us by other nations, and considering that, apparently, 80% of our laws originate from the EU, illustrate the importance of the issue! If the EU cannot be reformed into a community of nation states with power given back to the nation states (and a new reforming grouping might be the first step), then we’d be better off out.

As for Mr Rifkind saying leaving the EU is an "utterly reckless and untenable proposition" this is typical political establishment attitude. I note particularly the word “untenable”. So determined are they to pursue their objectives whatever electorates think. (Anyway Norway and Switzerland seem to be getting on OK). It seems whatever some politicians seem to indicate when they are climbing the greasy pole, policy in certain areas, e.g. on the EU and on foreign policy, ends up being pushed in a certain direction (towards European integration and a more appeasing stance on Islamic Jihadism). And if any party or politician does not take policy in the required direction, then they are vilified in much of the media as unelectable and so on.

I lost quite a bit of respect for Sir Malcolm Rifkind when he threw his toys out of the pram when he didn't get the Shadow Foriegn Secretary job and refused to serve in the Shadow Cabinet. (thank goodness he didn't get that job). The idea of welcoming defections of those who wish to restore proper democracy to the UK seems strange. Perhaps some in the party wish to pick a fight to show change (Militant style) and the Eurosceptic movement is the target.

P.S I don't see why we need a thread about the arrest. This is Conservative Home and not Labour Home.

Rifkind is a scotch carpet bagger, who was the "brains" behind Major's Maastricht debacle.
The man should have stayed dead or in Morningside.
After that humiliation and national and personal rejection a period of contrition, self assessment and above all perpetual silence would seem obligatory to anyone with a conscience greater than their personal vanity.

Scotty @ 18.15 described a "minority little group of people who feel that they can actively and openly attack the conservative party through UKIP in this way, by trying to damage a leader elected just over a year on a mandate of change".

Er... he was elected on a mandate which included leaving the EPP - that is why I voted for him, as did many of my friends. We belived he was truly euro-realist, and voted in spite of the "change" guff. We were, of course, betrayed within 6 months.

Tam Large 23:30 he was elected on a mandate which included leaving the EPP - that is why I voted for him, as did many of my friends. We believed he was truly euro-realist, and voted in spite of the "change" guff. We were, of course, betrayed within 6 months.", Well written Tam Large. As a Conservative Party Councillor, I would like to think DC will raise the Conservative Party into Government, on the basis of immediate withdrawal from the EU and complete restoration of Parliamentary Sovereignty, together with many other core Conservative values. Regrettably, I deeply suspect his snout and many of those who are close to him in the Opposition front bench, are already too deep into the EU trough to make this possible.

The annihilation of British historical traditions was not achieved by way of two World Wars, yet may well succeed by bribery, corruption and subversion by the unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels, aided and abetted by British MP's, including DC and local and county councillors serving on Regional Assemblies. The British people deserve better.

"The British people deserve better."

Hear hear,well said!

This whole 'UKIP defection' stuff, I feel, is being blown way out of proportion. Oh no: a few members of the establishment have gone to a minor party!

I mean, it's not as if Europe is even a big topic in British politics at the moment!

Cameron's got it right. Rather than worrying about a handful of defections, we should get about regaining support in the North and in Scotland.

Haha, the discipline issues you lot face are incredible. Party insiders say something and you all disagree even more than I do with mine... and they say Labour's buggered!

If it were the case that all those members defecting to UKIP were racist, homophobic, wannabe-patriot "fruit cakes" then Rifkind would be right. However, for every defector who is not like this, Rifkind's comments become that little bit more a case of miserable humbug.

Another expression of the idea that leaving the EU is not a sensible idea couched in disengenious terms of which no good will come. Why play the man? Because you can't play the ball, perhaps?

"Why play the man? Because you can't play the ball, perhaps?"
Yes Al Gunn, that does seem to be the agenda on here when someone actually defends David Cameron or the conservative party.

Rifkind's comments confirm what I have said again and again, namely that the party leadership has finally been hi-jacked by the bilious old TRG/PEST/"One Nation" leftist clique which has been around causing trouble for decades.

And of course the contributors here split on predictable lines, this time without the presence of Malcolm and Ted vainly attempting to hold the centre ground. Maybe they decided to sit this one out.

After all, when people like Rikkind shoot their mouths off it's a bit difficult to maintain the fiction that we're all one happy party led by a true Tory in the Thatcher tradition.

"Why play the man? Because you can't play the ball, perhaps?"
Yes Al Gunn, that does seem to be the agenda on here when someone actually defends David Cameron or the conservative party"

The problem with a number of the more fanatical Cameroons is that one can never tell whether it is a man, ball, or sock puppet that is being played.

People may be interested to know that an independent German foreign policy analyst has three speaking engagements to which the public are invited. He is Horst Teubert, editor of "Informationen zur deutschen Aussenpolitik" (Reports on German Foreign Policy) . The Meetings are
Sunday January 28 2.00 pm
Marlborough Town Hall (Wiltshire)

Monday 29 January 6.30 pm
The Grimond Room, Portcullis House,Westminster (Chair Philip Davies MP)

Tuesday 30 January 7.15 pm
New Bridge Inn, Chellaston Road (A514) Derby.
The title of his talk is
Topics include the EU constitution, energy policy, cooperation with Russia, Kosovo and the Balkans, Germany and the USA and the internal effects of German foreign policy on German society.
Translated reports from this source appear on

As I said on another thread, Lord Dartmouth is indeed patron of a northern constituency, ours, as it happens, and I cannot even remember what the man looks like. That should say it all. If I cant recognise him, he hasnt been around much.

No Europhile myself, but shed few tears if some of our extremists leave for extremist parties such as UKIP/BNP.

Smearing UKIP by bracketing them as 'extreme' with the BNP didn't work when Cameron did it.

JW, are you a UKIPPER?

"No Europhile myself, but shed few tears if some of our extremists leave for extremist parties such as UKIP/BNP."

They'll be back when Cameron quits.

As I said before, comment on this site is 90% polarised on Pro Cameron Wet/Anti-Cameron Dry lines with a very small number of "Why can't we all be friends?" centrists wringing their hands.

Doesn't bode well for the future of the Cameroon party, does it?

Rifkind is a fine upstanding politician and statesman and a thoroughly decent chap, who really ought to get himself back into the Shadow Cabinet asap (and I admit it's entirely his fault and not Cameron's that he's not there now, but one rash decision shouldn't condemn him to the backbenches for the remainder of his career). His oratorical skills are practically unequalled in the Conservative Party (Hague can match him, but I can't think of anyone else off the top of my head), and I feel that a politician with such evident gravitas and wisdom shouldn't be subject to such scathing comments like many of those above.

Ian, please don't start going on about wet and dry - it makes the debate very "abrasive"! (you're all glad that I chose politics over comedy, right?...)

I think Sir Malcolm's comments were ill-advised, and probably did more for his media profile than the Party.

I don't think it was correct to give publicity to the defectors by referring to them in an article like that. If he'd been asked about it in an interview fair enough, but otherwise our line on this should be that we've got bigger issues to think about than a couple of disgruntled ex-PPC's and a couple of whipless peers stropping off to a minority Party.

Equally, why is a Conservative former Foreign Secretary name-checking UKIP? Write a thoughtful piece on the Middle East peace process, the way forward in Iraq, or something. If you're a former Foreign Secretary and feel you really have to address UKIP, surely you do it by writing a serious heavyweight piece on a real modern vision for Europe, and dismiss them without even mentioning their name.

I guess gingeral @14:55 is either Sir Malcolm or a member of his close family. I really cannot imagine who else could possibly write in such terms. Very droll!

Quote: a real modern vision for Europe

Yes, that's what we need - modern. Sounds like Peter Hain.

I am very suprised at Sir Malcolm and hope that he has not been quoted accurately. Until the complete article is published I will reserve judgement as I had always believed that Malcolm was quite EU sceptic himself.
As regards the theme of this thread I would contend that it has been to our benefit to lose some of those who have defected to UKIP. Although not bad people there are some who are utterly obsessed with the EU, see it as the devil incarnate and believe it responsible for all Britains' ills. UKIP are welcome to these people.
But there are many others that I've been sad to lose, decent patriotic Britons who sadly feel let down by the Tory party and are misguided enough not to realise that by lending UKIP their vote they are helping Europhile parties in so far as they have any influence at all.
I hope in 2007 strenuous efforts are made by the Conservative party to win these people back. That can only be done by giving our EU policies a higher priority than they have at present but not as some on this blog appear to want to the exclusion of all else.

UKIP have had lots of press publicity lately. This is all hot air and no substance.

UKIP will be fighting 3 by-elections in the next 3 weeks.

UKIP have a candidate fighting the Hucknall ward by-election Nottinghamshire County Council 25 Jan 2007.


On 8 Feb 2007 they will be fighting Bede Ward Nuneaton & Bedworth Council.


On 6 Feb 2007 also fighting Bensham Manor Ward, Croydon Council.

Considering the massive amounts of publicity UKIP have achieved lets just wait and see what their election results will be in 3 wards spread around the country.

If we are to believe Nigel Farage MEP Leader of UKIP - you tories will face anihalation at the hands of Nigel and his merry band.

Lets see what harm they will do to the Conservative vote. Then you can run around like a bunch of headless chickens.

The Conservatives could kill this issue stone dead, get many thousands of extra votes instantly, as well has many hard working activists and donors.


Make a manifesto pledge for the British people to decide on membership of the EU via referendum on being elected. It is long due and would put this issue to bed once and for all.

It would be popular with the people who see it as a big issue, while not harmful to the ones who don't.

So why don't the Tories make this simple, easy and right win-win decision? A decision that will give the people a say, when Blair never would? A decision that has precident and is long overdue?

I think you all know the answer, but don't like to contemplate the implications.

Hear hear ukip@home. In recent actual elections they have done disastrously. When they tank in May, will we stop going on about them?

No, Sir Malcolm is no relation, but I did meet him once at the Cambridge Union, he'd just crossed swords with George Galloway on a debate, I think it was "The American Dream is the world's nightmare", his performance was absolutely outstanding, really had me rooting for him. Anyway the girl next to me got up to challenge him on something and completely forgot what she was going to say. Sir Malcolm came over to me in the bar afterwards and told me to tell her that Winston Churchill had done exactly the same thing in his maiden speech in Parliament so she shouldn't worry. I thought it was a nice thing to say and have had a soft spot for him ever since.

UKIP like to repeat the lie that they have between 30 and 50 district and borough councillors, although the true figure is closer to 10 - mostly defections from sitting Liberal Democrat Councillors.

When challenged about the figures UKIP officials trot out the pathetic excuse that they can't give exact figures because the issue is in the hands of local UKIP branches rather than the party centrally. This just helps reinforce the image that UKIP are nothing more than a shambolic bunch of incompetant lying amateurs.

During the 2006 Council elections UKIP hyped themselves up in the media and confidentaly predicted they would win 15 to 20 seats. Back in the real world they gained no new Councillors.

UKIP face a real electoral challenge during the local council elections this May. At least 7 sitting UKIP Councillors face re-election - or should that be extinction?

UKIP have Councillors on:
Kennet District Council,
Newcastle-under-Lyne Borough Council,
North Devon District Council,
Oswestry Borough Council,
South Gloucestershire District Council, Torridge District Council and
West Devon District Council
all coming up for extinction this May.

Does Basildon Boy/UKIP@HOME think that UKIP will have less Councillors after the May elections than they do now?

If he does,can he say why exactly,because that could be a good formula for removing them from the throat of the Conservative Party.

In short,without UKIP,the Conservative Party would be home free in every election.

Tam Large - it wasn't just the EPP committment Cameron gave,it was also on the Fishing issue, that he would support National control, which he promptly dumped.

Quote: a real modern vision for Europe
-Yes, that's what we need - modern. Sounds like Peter Hain.

Thanks for the reminder, "ukfirst" - I really must go top up my tan...

Mr Cameron can not be trusted to tell the truth on anything,he is a proven liar,a liar on,EPP,Fishing and so forth.

On Monday,eight of us are removing ourselves from Mr Camerons untruths and we are all going into political retirement.

Two of our number have more than 42 years each with the Conservative party,they are obviously very sad,as are we all, but, feel they cannot support the party with its policies so confused,unclear and in disarray.

We are more than disappointed in our party and its new Leadership.

We have seen WH,IDS,MH and DC but we have still not had a real Conservative Leader for more than a decade.

We must do better.

We must state the parties goals clearly so that the electorate know EXACTLY what we are for.

We have to remove all spin,or,sink into the well of it along with Labour and the Lib-Dems.

It,s as simple as that.

"Europe isn't a big topic in British politics at the moment"... Oh yes? What about Post Office closures? And Alex Salmond saying an "Independent" Scotland could stay in the EU?

If this really is true, it is a very stupid thing to say. It was, after all, the presence of a UKIP candidate which cost the Conservatives between 20 and 25 seats at the 2005 General Election.

The Myth of Vote UKIP, Get Labour

There is a myth going around that voting for UKIP hurts the Conservatives, and by default, lets in Labour. One reason given is that a number of otherwise close Conservative defeats in the last General Election in 2005, in around 27 to 30 odd seats (the number varies from time to time) was caused by votes for UKIP.

This is simply not true.

Of the 646 seats available in the elections of 2005, UKIP contested 496. There were only 39 seats (full list at the end) that saw UKIP having a greater vote than the difference between first and second place. That was less than 8% of the 496 seats UKIP stood in.

Of these 39 seats, only five were in UKIP’s top 39 results across the country (full list at the end), and four of these five kept their deposits (the fifth almost joined them). Of these 39 seats, Labour won 16, the Conservatives 13 and Lib-Dems 10. Of the 16 Labour seats, there was no net gain for them from 2001. The Conservatives had a net gain of 11 (nine of them from previously-held Labour seats and two were taken from the Lib-Dems) as well as two existing 2001 Tory seats. The Lib-Dems had a net gain of four (three taken from the Conservatives and one from Labour). They kept six 2001 seats within the party.

If UKIP `spoiled' seats for the Conservatives by having more votes than the margins the Tories lost by then the same could be said for the other two parties who came second as well. After all, voters can freely change their choice of party between elections. Of the 39 seats, the Tories came second in 24 seats, the Labour party just missed out on victory in ten, and the Lib-Dems were runners-up in five.

It is also irrational to burden UKIP with the blame that their votes robbed the Conservatives when third place parties scored significantly more votes and could also have denied the Tories of victories. The only way this could not be a factor is if one UKIP vote was worth multiple votes of other parties: Of the 39 `spoiler’ seats, only five UKIP candidates kept their deposits. And this is without mentioning the effect of other small parties that also ran in many of the 39 seats.

In summary, these numbers are simply too small to justify any statement about a vote for UKIP lets Labour in. The so-called 39 marginal seats out of the 496 UKIP had a candidate in are scattered far and wide across the country, hardly representing any geo-political pattern of note and bear little resemblance to where UKIP scored its most votes. In these 39 seats, all of the big three parties came second with margins less than UKIP votes but the Conservatives alone claim to be a `victim’. Another case of lies, damned lies, statistics?

The 39 seats (regions) where UKIP got more votes than the margin of victory in the General Elections 2005:
Battersea (London)
Carshalton & Wallington (London)
Clwyd West (Wales)
Crawley (South East)
Croydon Central (London)
Dartford (South East)
Devon West & Torridge (South West) – UKIP deposit returned
Eastbourne (South East)
Eastleigh (South East)
Gillingham (South East)
Gravesham (South East)
Guildford (South East)
Harlow (Eastern)
Harwich (Eastern) – UKIP deposit lost by 0.4%
Hemel Hempstead (Eastern)
Hereford (West Midlands)
High Peak (East Midlands)
Hornchurch (London)
Hove (South East)
Medway (South East)
Portsmouth North (South East)
Reading East (South East)
Rochdale (North West)
Romsey (South East)
Sittingbourne & Sheppey (South East)
Solihull (West Midlands)
Somerton & Frome (South West)
Staffordshire Moorlands (West Midlands) – UKIP deposit returned
Stourbridge (West Midlands)
Stroud (South West)
Taunton (South West)
Thanet South (South East) – UKIP deposit returned
Torbay (South West) – UKIP deposit returned
Totnes (South West) – UKIP deposit returned
Warwick & Leamington (West Midlands)
Watford (Eastern)
Wellingborough (East Midlands)
Westmorland & Lonsdale (North West)
The Wrekin (West Midlands)

The top 39 results for UKIP in the 2005 General Elections were:
Arundel & South Downs
Beverley & Holderness
Bexhill & Battle
Bognor Regis & Littlehampton
Boston & Skegness
Cambridgeshire North East
Cambridgeshire North West
Castle Point
Cornwall North
Cornwall South East
Devon East
Devon North
Devon South West
Devon West & Torridge
Isle of Wight
Louth & Horncastle
New Forest East
Norfolk South West
Plymouth Devonport
Plymouth Sutton
Sleaford & North Hykeham
St Ives
Staffordshire Moorlands
Staffordshire South
Suffolk South
Tiverton & Honiton
Truro & St Austell
Worthing West

Rifkind is a back number, but he's certainly done UKIP a big favour.

You can argue this all over the place, but I actually believe that UKIP cost the Conservatives a significent number of seats at the last General Election. I'd put money on UKIP dednying the Tories victory at the next.

How to stop UKIP claiming Tory scalps? Easy. It's time for the Tories to move toward the public position and embrace exit from the EU.

The resultant loss of Europhiles will be a major plus factor.

This is laughable rubbish. Cameron's line on Europe is considerably to the right of both Dracula and Tory Boy. (It was Tory Boy, after all, who forced him to break his EPP pledge.)

The defections to UKIP will do the Tory Party no good at all. In theory they may be good for the Right in general, but any anti-Europe charge is still very much a rearguard action that is losing ground all the time. The UKIP peers are simply reacting to a situation about which the Tory Party is still determinedly doing nothing.

If it weren't for Dracula's stance on Europe I would have a Tory MP today (in the form of Dominic Schofield). As it is, UKIP got the votes he needed.

And now they've got three votes in the House of Lords. All I can say is bully for them, and sour grapes from the like of Malcolm Rifkind do not constitute a politically mature answer.

Malcolm Rifkind in common with many eurocompliant conservatives thinks he can purify the party of eurosceptics. It is impossible to do that when a majority of the party are eurosceptic, and only a minority agree with him about the EU.

The defectors to UKIP help people like Rifkind to hold down a more dominant position within the Conservative Party, which keeps him happy. Why don't they stay in the Conservative Party and campaign to deselect people like Rifkind on the grounds that they do not represent the voters.

Cameron allows Rifkind to crow, as it is acceptable to the media to bash eurosceptics. Cameron knows he cannot win power without the media's backing, but he could in the end withdraw Britain from the EU, as he clearly holds no brief for the EU.

UKIP will play a role - but it needs to watch its strategy most carefully - or it will be used to keep Cameron from power, and keep Britain in the EU a few years longer than we need to be.

>>This is laughable rubbish. Cameron's line on Europe is considerably to the right of both Dracula and Tory Boy<<

I don't believe that line is genuine although it's true he had to adopt a Eurosceptic pose in order to secure support from the likes of Daniel Hannan.

Watch the mood music since and listen to the triumphant brayings of Heseltine, who is well pleaaed with Dave.

Personally I've no doubt that at heart Cameron is inclined to be far more Eurocompliant than either of his predecessors.

It was Hague, after all, who established a firm Eurosceptic line with his party referendum on the issue. That lost us a number of malignants, but I wouldn;t mind betting they are now crawling back.

Nigel Farage on GMTV this am has said that Cameron will not keep his promise to take Conservative MEPs out of the EPP in 2009.

Those moving towards UKIP are not racist but simply making a logical decision based on recent history. They blame, rightly or wrongly, many of the current stresses in society, on the influx of economic migrants. The fact this happened behind their back worries them greatly and is inflaming opinion. Finally they are waking up to the realities of EU subjugation after years of spin. Voters cannot trust our politicians to look after our borders when they are held wide open, by law. EU law. So they want them closed to avoid risk of a further influx bringing overcrowding, pressure on public services and criminality. These are rational conclusions.

UKIP and BNP are gaining further support from those who feel they have been victimised by this government in favour of minorities. They are over taxed, under represented and blame political correctness for these things. They are also likely to be painfully aware of the increased violence and lack of discipline in society seen after 10 years of Bliar. Immigrants are the easy targets when we have an unpopular war on Islam, real terrorist threats and an unofficial government policy of demonising British Muslims. These are the people that would have been voting Tory in the 1980’s.

They know that voting UKIP wont change anything and many of these are ashamed of the more extreme views held by UKIP; but they have just seen what happens if you vote in untrustworthy people with no substance and they are not about to repeat the mistake. I imagine most of these people will simply not bother to vote come election time rather than support extremist policies.

News of Merkel reviving the constitution will do nothing to stem the tide of opinion.

Is it true the Conservatives have lost another 15,000 members? What exactly is the Conservative membership at present?

I have nothing against UKIP. I would have no trouble fitting into it. However I beleive that True Tories need to stand their ground and fight the Cameroon hydra.

I always think it's hilarious when some or other Cameroon sockpuppet pops up here to say that CH has been hi-jacked by "UKIP trolls".

Actually there's no way of knowing whether these alleged hi-jackers are UKIP or trad Tories, but more to the point why don't all these bright new Cameroon-inspired "Tories" weigh in to support their beleaguered comrades?

The simple answer is that they don't exist.

I, too, thought Sir Malcolm Rifkind was a Euro-sceptic and have always been extremely impressed by his 'performance' whether that be on radio or television (I have never met him or seen him speak in person). I have no doubt that gingeral's impression of him is quite, quite genuine. Then he says something like this. What are we supposed to think?

According to a report in today's Sunday Telegraph, stuck on to the tail end of an article about David Cameron's walkabout in Scotland and other points north, another defection to UKIP has occured. This is someone who has donated £25,000 to UKIP and has pots more. Defections are not flashes in the pan, any more. I would also suggest that once someone joins another party, they become a bit more effective politically much as an ex-smoker becomes virulently anti-smoking. I would also venture to suggest that for every defection there are more thinking about it.

David Cameron blew it by not removing the MEPs from the EPP immediately after becoming leader. Instead of coming down hard on their little rebellion he has acted tough against the europhobes. He has also forbidden any MP to sign the Better Off Out campaign's petition to withdraw from the EU. (Whether UKIP effects the vote of an incumbent Conservative or not, NOT having a UKIP candidate standing against one has to be a plus). Doubts exist about Mr Cameron's euro-scepticism. And this is why doubts are creeping in about his effectiveness in other areas, too.

There are still years to go before a general election (although Gordon Brown COULD call one on his accession) so David Cameron ought to be given the benefit of the doubt. But the omens are not good, frankly and this sort of intervention by a noted and prominent Conservative only confirms one's worst fears.

>>I, too, thought Sir Malcolm Rifkind was a Euro-sceptic<<

You were very easily taken in I am afraid.

The Conservative Party has been infiltrated for years by a Eurocompliant PC leftwing organisation called the Tory Reform Group. Rifkind has been a leading member for years, alongside Ken Clarke and Chris Patten.

I don't know whether Cameron is a member of TRG but he is certainly "their man". I have a list of TRG leaders, unfortunately now some years out of date.

Just as you can make certain negative "fascist" assumptions about a person known to be a member of the BNP, so you can make negative "leftist" assumptions about any TRG member. Put simply they are socialists in the wrong party.

TRG is the cancer of the Conservative Party.

I wrote yesterday about the "external politics" of Sir Malcolm's article, and why I felt it to be inadvisable.

Looking at the "internal politics", I also don't like the impression being formed that defections of moderate, sensible eurosceptics would be welcome - they wouldn't be and shouldn't be. Yes, I'm sure that some of the defectors are the kind of people who are always looking to throw a strop about their pet issue anyway, but I hope that others of them will keep listening to what we have to say and eventually come back and join us in a broad programme to beat Labour.

I have nothing against UKIP. I would have no trouble fitting into it. However I beleive that True Tories need to stand their ground and fight the Cameroon hydra.

I don't know how you think that helps, Mark - talk of "True Tories" looks ridiculous. Besides, aren't you just doing what Rifkind's comments risked doing, just from a different perspective - narrowing the Party, just when we should be widening it and calling for all to come and join with us?

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