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The answer to this is. Who cares! No one but the political trainspotting types who get on this site. Its all utter nonsense.

As one who wants to stay in the EPP, this does seem a little undemocratic.

Jack, I for one am going to investigate further. Others should find out the truth before hurling abuse. Let's keep our powder try until we know all the facts and the reason behind this decision.

The majority of the European Union's behaviour and conduct is generally undemocratic, Justin - not just this one small issue, but it is nice that you acknowledge this for once.

That said, David Cameron specifically promised that he would take Conservative MEPs out of the EPP as part of his leadership campaign - he needs to follow through on this pledge.

Well said Justin. Given your pro-EPP stance that's a very principled line to take.

Can I suggest that we give Timothy Kirkhope, MEP, a platform to set out his vision for Europe and answer questions from CH readers?

It is not up to David Cameron to tell Conservative MEPs how to vote - it is up to the leader of the delegation (currently Giles Chichester) together with his Chief Whip to determine how the group votes.

He doesn't reply to my emails Justin (1435).

:-(

Technically that's right Sally (1435) but this is an important area of party policy and David Cameron needs to make his position clear.

Cameron has no intention of delivering on this promise.

This proposal could make it easier for the Conservatives to leave the EPP. It will kill off the Ind Dem and UEN groups. With 26 MEPs, the Conservatives could pick and choose their new partners to form a unified Eurosceptic group. If Timothy Kirkhope is behind this move, he is even more stupid than I thought.

Leaving the EPP is a key test for Cameron.

Allowing treasonous Federalists to be automatically re-elected as Conservative MEPs has been a massive mistake.

Interesting point from Libertarian but we must still oppose the move. The EP must retain dissident and divserse voices.

Thank you Tim for pointing that out - and thanks for "blowing my cover" as woodentop! ;-(

I know that David Cameron can and must express his view - but at the end of the day he doesn't have the authority to force MEPs to vote the way he wishes them to and he would not, I am sure, be foolish enough to provoke a stand-off!

So Sally Roberts is woodentop - how appropriate LOL!

I despair.
This is the second move, following Hans-Gert Poeterring's original action to curtail debate by using a mechanism that resonates from the Nazi age, to deflect opposition and stifle criticism and debate in the EU, its aims and the direction that it takes.
The aim of the move is quite clearly directed at the dissentients.
If, as has been claimed, Kirkhope and any other Tory MEP has been culpable, then they must be de-selected. Loyalty to this country, support of our democratic traditions and principles must take precedence over any love or support of the EU. A body that seems to be becoming increasingly autarchic, fascistic and adopting Stalinite overtones.

Is it not curious that the Conservative Party Leader, who is supposed to run the Party and make the key political decisions, appears to have no control over Conservative MEPs who get selected and elected under Conservative manifestos and using Conservative Party money and activists?

Considering that now 70% of laws passed by the UK Parliament are rubber-stamps of EU law-making, that means that the Conservative Party Leader only has a remit over national policy making and whipped voting, and thus only 30% of the work of Parliament.

So much for being a Leader. In the crucial EU decisions he would seem to have no role. This also impacts on the various utterances which come from the Leader and CCHQ concerning what they will / might / would like to do in the EU. It is all just vapour if the MEPs have this total autonomy. (But of course such words are vapour anyway, as we are impotent to make any significant changes while within the EU and thus bound by acquis communotaire.)

I guess that's a classic example of how the EU operates: contemptuous of, and inimical to, the wishes of the views of the people of Member States.

Go to this link for a full briefing on the ongoing story. http://englandexpects.blogspot.com/
In my (often jaundiced) opinion Kirkhope played into Corbett and Leinen's hands, not deliberately, but because he was pleased with how clever he was.

If any votes for this, they should be kicked out of the party and having their automatic reselection status voided. Really is as simple as that.

Libertarian - I picked the name because I used to love "The Woodentops" when I was little - but I am guessing that's way before your time?!

A) We should vote against this.
B) We should exit the EPP forthwith. I understand not being precipitate and trying to form another group, but this is now long past a joke. Come on, Cameron! You know it's time!

Why waste your breath?
The best way to achieve is to build a majority vote not destroy it!

This proposal was tabled by MEP Richard Corbett, a member of the Socialist Group. "The Parliament's all-party constitutional affairs committee today voted to clarify the rules on forming political groups", they say.

Clarify?!

How is "30 members, 7 countries" more clear than "20 members, 6 countries"?

This is the EU at its worst, with socialists and conservatives conspiring to carve up power. It gives even europhiles like me cause to hang our heads.

'It gives even europhiles like me cause to hang our heads.' - Mark Fulford

May I ask, as I think this is the obvious question, but when have 'europhiles' ever had cause to hold their heads high?

Chris,

Some would pretend it does only bad.
Others would pretend it does only good.
The rest understand it does good and bad
but argue about which is the greater.
This, we can agree, is bad.
Let's savour the agreement.

Just deselect any MEP who acts in any way that hampers us leaving the EPP.

I thought that all retained MEPs were signed up to this principle?

Unfortunately HF the modern Conservative party has taken the right of deselection away from ordinary members. The MEPs know that they can hide their expense claims and scheme to stay in the EPP without consequence.

The idea was defeated in Committe by one vote but Corbett has promised the proposal will be brought back to the full Parliament in July.
AS indicated above this is actually quite a clever devious move by Corbett to cause maximum problems for David Cameron to exit the EPP as he has promised and set up a new group. If Kirkhope has acquiesced then he should be kicked out of the Party immediately

Eurosceptic Tory MEPs go native when they step off Eurostar on their first visit to Brussels - if they didn't have some enthusiasm for the European "adventure" they shouldn't stand for election (unless, heaven portend they're only in it for the easy dosh and expenses).
Once again I say: we either stay in the EU and accept its ultimate federalism, or we pull out. There is no half way "in Europe, but not run by Europe."

Tim - on a related topic, when can we expect to see further news on the Party's continuing refusal to publish detailed voting figures from the MEP selection process?

I'll have interim news tomorrow morning Richard when I publish the results of the ConservativeHome.com survey on whether members want full disclosure. Thanks for asking.

For the record and historical accuracy the issue first surfaced 2 years ago and raised by Corbett not to make it more difficult for Tories to exit the EPP-ED (I doubt Corbett had thought about that bonus point till our blogs revealed it). No it was mooted a while back to destroy the far right which formed a short lived Group of just 20 MEPs of French National Fronters, Belgian nationalists, Romanians etc under the banner of Independence Tradition and Sovereignty (One ex UKIP member Ashely Mote ex guest of HMP).
When Alessandra Mussolini its Italian member criticised Romanian immigrants for a crime wave in Italy the Romanians withdrew from ITS imploding the group. Corbett confided if the threshold was raised to 30 no far group would be possible again.

Charles Tannock MEP@17:13

IMHO, stopping far right members from forming into groupings is a very bad reason for raising the threshold. These people are elected, just as much as anyone else. Why shouldn't they participate?

Thank you Charles: Can you enlighten us as to whether Tory MEPs are supporting this and whether you will be whipped on the issue?

If you listen to Roger Helmer, not being a recognised grouping is no barrier to participation...

I think Libertarian's point is the most interesting - this will force UEN to finally break up. Unfortunately, the driving forces behind UEN won't get into bed with us. Fianna Fail want to join the Liberals and Italy's National Alliance is going to join the EPP. And I'm not sure we particularly want to join up with people like the Danish People's Party or Law & Justice.

I have to say, everything to do with the EPP and the selection/re-selection of MEPs seems to be a total nightmare. Who can blame DC for wanting to keep well away?

The point at 14.43 is very interesting - would this proposal really disband two of the groups that already exist? If so, it might actually make it easier to form a new centre-right, eurosceptic grouping. Of course this doesn't negate the fact that the proposal itself is brazenly undemocratic.

Having been on holiday I am behind in my reading but I have just read all the comments and Adam in London - the very last at the moment - has said what needed pointing out. Roger Helmer has said that since not being in the EPP he has complerte freedom, can speak more often and has more money for political work. The question of where they sit in the chamber is a totally puerile worry.

The idea that it was part of Cameron's promise to "set up a new group" is not right. That addition was added afterwards to cover the failure of Cameron to honour his promise of leaving the EPP "not in days, nor in months, but in weeks".

He's not a man to be trusted. Like Brown he breaks his word.

If this disgraceful and anti democratic move pleases Justin Hinchcliffe and Jack Stone then that alone condemns it.

However if Cameron does not very soon deliver on his EPP promise then he is a liar and has betrayed those of us who supported him for leader with that as a key consideration in our decision. I for one will leave the party if that is the case and Cameron does turn out to be as dishonest and self serving as Blair and Brown.

"However if Cameron does not very soon deliver on his EPP promise ...."

Then it leaves us EUsceptics one choice at the next EU election, UKIP, for clearly the EUphile Conservative MEP's are doing their damnedest to antagonise the majority who might be Conservative supporters, and if Cameron won't get them into line, nor honour his promise, then its a no brainer where the cross goes on the voting form!

Mark Fulford at 15:48: This is the EU at its worst, with socialists and conservatives conspiring to carve up power.

You're right about socialists but it's not "conservatives" but "Christian Democrats". The sooner more people realise the EPP is a Christian Democrat body not a Conservative body the better.

I have had professional dealings with Timothy Kirkhope as a solicitor. He is not a nice man.

I would never rely on this man to take a principled stand on anything.

All this is just fiddling about. Since the Constitution there is no longer any compromising room left. Our two choices are either complete takeover or coming out. There is now no middle way.

I was a supporter of staying in the EU but since the Constitution I have completely changed. It appears that very many also take this view.

We must withdraw from the EU completely - then these arcane discussions about the EPP do not matter.

The Lisbon Treaty will affect the next European Parliamentary elections to an extent unimagineable at present.

Think backlash!

Think oil rationing, particularly think of the implications of energy solidarity!

Think!

Oppose Lisbon ratification..... with heart and actively....please you now may be the future!

There seems to be rather too much personal abuse and rather too little fact about all this! It all seems to be conjecture at the moment - hopefully by tomorrow we might know more about what really happened?

I'm surprised you haven't contacted Timothy Kirkhope for a response before publishing this. Did you try?

I predict that Cameron will, sensibly, do nothing and say nothing about this. I doubt he will fulfil his promise at all.

At the moment, only the spectre of Tory divisions over Europe hangs over opinion poll leads.

By all means, Eurosceptics, kick this off in the Telegraph. We could do with the relief.

Only the spectre of Tory divisions over Europe hangs over opinion poll leads. I doubt that Passing Leftie. I think we can afford to have a big battle over the issue and still enjoy a healthy lead thanks to our monumentally poor PM and his truly abysmal Chancellor.
Normally I would argue that we should win an election before we start fighting over an issue as unimportant as the EPP but I don't think Cameron has this luxury. He made it an issue in 2005,he'll have to lance this boil soon even though it may make him some enemies.

...and posed a straight question by the Editor Charles Tannock MEP, re-selected by nobody, goes as quiet as the grave.....

Obviously Mr Cameron should instruct Tory MEPs to vote against this. Also I agree with suggestions about deselecting MEPs who make it difficult for us to leave the EPP.

Should rule changes make it impossible to form a new reform grouping outside the EPP, would this be the EU regime pushing us into a corner more quickly than I expected? There might be two ways out of the corner: capitulate and stay in the EPP, or when we form the next Government, leave the EU. Anyway could staying in the EPP and thus unable to form a new reform grouping and to reform the EU into more a community of free nation states, mean we will indeed be left with those two alternatives anyway: being locked into the EU super-State project, or get out altogether. If left with such a choice, then it is obvious which we should choose.

If it is impossible to form a new grouping, then leaving the EPP becomes less of an option as it might leave Tory MEPs with so little influence on their own, or with a group including communists and fascists. In which case should we leave the EU altogether.

Philip @2321 It does not work that way! If we leave the EPP the Conservatives will be just that - a coordinated collection of individual MEPs not affiliated to anybody else, They can work together as a group - no problem and they are entitled to individual expenses to do their work.

The idea that they are in any way at all connected with "communists and fascists" is not true.

This whole talk of a group is a smokescreen to cover up inaction by Cameron who has no intention of honouring his promise if he can help it. I do not expect him to honour his other promise either about the referendum. All of us who dislike the EU and were silly enough to believe Cameron were sold a pup.

Philip @2321 It does not work that way! If we leave the EPP the Conservatives will be just that - a coordinated collection of individual MEPs not affiliated to anybody else, They can work together as a group - no problem and they are entitled to individual expenses to do their work.

The idea that they are in any way at all connected with "communists and fascists" is not true.

This whole talk of a group is a smokescreen to cover up inaction by Cameron who has no intention of honouring his promise if he can help it. I do not expect him to honour his other promise either about the referendum. All of us who dislike the EU and were silly enough to believe Cameron were sold a pup.

Of course, it's all terrible politics for us.

On the one hand, if we do manage to cobble together a grouping it will be with the dregs of Europe - the Danish People's Party, the Lega Nord, Law & Justice etc. - and we'll be asked why they are so much more palatable than the Partido Popular or Forza Italia.

On the other hand we'll be left sitting on our own, and have to explain why we can't find anyone else in Europe who agrees with us about the future direction of the EU.

The Eurosceptics who obsess about this have let the party down badly - selling the rest of us a shaggy dog story about the legions of other parties desperate to join us in leaving the EPP, and simultaneously failing to court other parties to any effect.

The Eurosceptics who obsess about this have let the party down badly

WHAT?!?!

All anybody is asking is that we leave a grouping which holds to a federalist agenda which the Conservative Party opposes. If this causes the MEPs in question any disadvantage than that's because the rules are rigged to specifically penalise anti-federalists - which is in itself a reason not to continue to support the rule-makers.

I agree that Conservative MEPs have let the rest of us down very badly, but that's because they've clearly been dragging their feet, which is the fault of the Europhiles (and, I have sadly to say, William Hague and his team), NOT the Eurosceptics.

The Eurosceptics who obsess about this have let the party down badly

I'm sorry for two postings in a row, but this suggestion just beggars belief. How can the Eurosceptics have let anybody down when they have no power, when the vast majority of Conservative MEPs have clearly gone native and have to be protected by dodgy re-selection procedures in order to avoid being thrown out on their ears, when the party leadership is prepared to set up just such dodgy procedures, and when Cameron personally obviously couldn't care less about his promise to leave the EPP?

Just exactly what is that the Eurosceptics have ever been able physically to do in the face of such dishonesty and double-dealing?

And if objecting to hypocrisy and bad government, and refusing to be bullied into keeping quiet about it, constitute "obsession" then I for one am guilty and see nothing wrong with it.

Charles, ( May 28, 2008 at 17:12)
The proposals to set up the Tory focussed MER were far more public at that point (two years ago) than they are today. Indeed there was even that big meeting in Brussels with Stoyanov and so on.
It is true that when questioned about this yesterday I understand that Corbett did tell a journalist, "This isn't about closing down eurosceptics, but fascists". But that doesn't make it any more democratic, indeed, the jouirnalist actually pointed out that his own action was closer to fascism than anything that the people that he despises had done or achieved.

The money quote in the article is this,
”It would prevent single issue politicians from being given undue support from the public purse,”. It appears that you agree with Corbett on this.

Personally I do not think that any politician should be given support from tghe public purse. But if you start chucking taxpayer's cash at them it has to be equitable. Deciding that the rules should change because you do not like somebody's political perspective is a clear breach of the rule of law, and the onset of aribitary government.

ASnd anyhow, when did facists become single issue politician's, this comment from Corbett makes it clear that UKIP are in his own mind a clear target. (Not that we are single issue of course)

What say you?

"Thank you Charles: Can you enlighten us as to whether Tory MEPs are supporting this and whether you will be whipped on the issue Ed"

Sorry Tim in the delay in replying but I had to leave my office to negotiate a resolution on the crisis in Georgia on behalf of the "dreaded" EPP-ED Group and have only just reopened the thread. I spke to Tim Kirkhope who informs me he voted against the Corbett proposal in committee which suggests that the whip will be likewise but thats up to Den Dover and Giles Chichester. In reply to Gawain I have no views on the rights and wrongs of raising the threshold to 30 MEPs although I accept there must be a threshold as it would be chaotic and very expensive if there were too many groups floating around as Groups have special privileges in tabling amendments, resolutions staffing etc, but the exact number of countries and MEPs is a matter for debate and I will follow the Conservative whip as always in this matter, which after all is not my specialist field. I do not accept those who argue we Tory MEPs can function equally well in the unattached group (Non inscrit in French) as in a properly costituted Group recognised by the Parliament. Roger Helmer and Dan Hannan may be perfectly happy in the unattached group alongside Tom Wise, Ashley Mote etc but if you wish to make an serious impact on legislation or policy in the Parliament rather than just pursue the BOO mission by passionate speeches in the plenary chamber then you need to engage from within the parliamentary structures which means membership of a group and the bigger the better which is why many Conservative MEPs prefer to stay in the EPP-ED Group the largest of all. If UKIP sympathetic bloggers here dont believe me ask Gawain who works for UKIP in the IND DEM group and is keen it is not dissolved by raising the threshold to 30 MEPs.

Charles Tannock MEP - very helpful clarification, thank you for this. It seems therefore that Mr Kirkhope may have been hanged, drawn and quartered by people on here before the facts were known!

and as a post-script it would seem that Corbett's proposal was defeated!

http://www.theparliament.com/policy-focus/eu-politics/agriculture-article/newsarticle/mep-defends-proposal-to-limit-eu-political-groups/

Richard North may have "a money quote", but he's missing a key point -- as are the EPP. It may well be the EPP's objective to raise the bar, to make it more difficult for Conservative MEPs to form a new group. But there will be an unintended conbsequence. If the new rules are passed (by no means certain), it is rather likely that the UEN and ID groups will break up, leaving a substantial pool of "respectable" MEPs capable of forming a unified sceptic group. It may be that the EPP's spoiling tactic will lead to the outcome they least want -- a new, stable group working for a flexible Europe of independent nation-states.

Roger Helmer confirms the view that I expressed yesterday. The UEN and Ind Dem groups should fertile recruiting ground for the Conservatives' new group.

Charles Tannock needs to learn to write grammatically. See the sentences that begin "In reply to Gawain" and "Roger Helmer". His digs at Helmer and Hannan were uncalled for. They were expelled from the EPP by its authoritarian leaders for exercising their rights in the Parliament.

The EPP contains members with extreme views that we should have nothing to do with. Better Off Out!

I am not writing prose but a post which if it were in text language would pay even less atention to syntax and grammar. For the record I consider Roger and Dan friends and my statements are an observation based on their own admissions and comments and Roger is quite clear about his BOO mission in the EP which chimes with Libertarians.
For the record both Roger and Dan wished to be expelled from the EPP-ED Group which whatever your views on is not remotely "extremist" and as Dan has said barely ranks as centre right on most issues! But for Libertarian anyone who wishes to be in the EU is an extremist I guess!

I appreciate Roger Helmer’s comments, but may we please step back from the minutiae of the whys and wherefores of small print on EU parties? I’m struggling - others may be too.

Let us return (dare I say) to basics: I voted by PR for a list of Conservative names - the individuals on that list came from another list concocted by CCHQ and tweaked by Party hustings - hustings which have now been abolished.

That’s for starters.

These remote individuals – and no I can’t name most of them either – then coalesce into stellar formations to achieve good things for the UK, or so they all say, and for which they happen to be paid oodles of money.

Yet the constitution of the EU is destroying nation states and creating one big state.

Question 1 Is this the politics of the madhouse? Question 2 Where does democracy come into it?

UEN and ID are not that fertile a recruiting ground. Fianna Fail want to move over to the Liberals, and the National Alliance will join the EPP when they merge with Forza Italia. Of those who remain only the Latvians look that respectable. As for ID they are dominated by UKIP, but that are people like June Movement, June List and Movement for France who we might want to join up with if they could be prized away from UKIP. That's a total of 11 other MEPs...

Lindsay,

the Treaties which so horrify you are negotiated by, agreed by and ratified by the democratically elected national governments. These same governments negotiate, agree and ratify the EU directives. People ought to stop voting Labour.

Adam - Yes of course you are right that all 6 treaties have been agreed by our national government - 3 Labour and 3 Conservative. So why should a future Conservative government behave differently from those in the past?

Indeed in so far as we can deduce anything from the tea leaves of the current EPP debate it is that nothing has changed.

Cameron as PM would behave like all previous Conservative PMs from Macmillan onwards.

@Charles Tannock , the CDU ran a disgusting racist campaign against the immigration of Indian computer programmers with the slogan "Children, Not Indians".

Several EPP member parties have homophobic voting records, both in EP and in their own countries. I would also consider the EPP's federalist platform to be anti-democratic and therefore extremist.

The idea behind the change is simple:

To function in the European Union "Parliament" a member must be a part of a group - and the new rules will ensure that, like the E.P.P., all groups are in favour of all power to the E.U.

If the new rules go through there will no longer be any argument for Conservatives to be elected to this body, as the line that "we go there to express our dissent" will have collapsed. It will become impossible to pretend that the E.U. can be "reformed from within".

Any person who votes for these new rules should, therefore, be expelled from the Conservative party.

Charles, well done for clarifying all this nonsense that has been going on and for being a voice of common sense!

Adam in London @0039 -"The Eurosceptics who obsess about this have let the party down badly - selling the rest of us a shaggy dog story about the legions of other parties desperate to join us in leaving the EPP, and simultaneously failing to court other parties to any effect."

The eurosceptics have NOT obsessed about it but they nevertheless took Cameron at his worsd, Cameron and Gordon Brown have proved willing to break their promises and will not be trusted again.

This whole business is a smokescreen put out afterwards as an excuse for breaking that promise. As others have pointed out there is NO need for us to be in a group. (As de Gaulle said) Britain is different, has a different culture, and a very different past. The rest have spent centuries surrendering to the latest European bully. We have never done so - TILL NOW!

I am glad Alex Swanson in the wee small hours has got the problem so clearly sorted

But Adam in London today @ 1204 " These same governments negotiate, agree and ratify the EU directives. People ought to stop voting Labour." comprehensively misses the point. To vote Tory on the basis of experience is to find broken promises and betrayal. Cameron has no intention whatsover (or if he has he's keeping it d**ned quiet about it) of repatriating anything or stopping the EU juggernaut moving into its final phase where the nation state no longer exists - we're nearly there NOW.
Lindsay Jenkins is spot on!
------------
Paul Marks @1233 says "To function in the European Union "Parliament" a member must be a part of a group" This is not true as I and others and Roger Helmer himself point out above. But apart from that you've sussed iot out. The point is now being reached that those of us who believed that the Tory Party would lead us away from the European State are finding Cameron worse that useless and are having to take hard decisions about our future political allegiance.

Cameron's betrayal is the last straw and we now realise that as the EU turns the screw more each day that withdrawal is now the only answer. For that we have to pull down this Cameronian edifice.


Charles,
I heartily concur. Of course I do not want to the demise of the Ind/Dem group. (Well not until we have prized our country from the clutches of the EU - at that point the Group and my job be hanged).

However what happened was that the report should have fallen because it was defeated in Committee.

The fact that the Committee chairman, aided (not deliberately) by Mr Kirkhope's intervention, broke the rules of procedure in order to allow Corbett to reintroduce the limits in plenary in July is the key issue here. The Press release from CCHQ skates over the truth. Kirkhope opposed the idea, he was one of those who voted against the idea, and thus one of those who can take pride in the result. But... but... his subsequent actions allowed a major filibuster on the part of the Committee chairman, which in turn allowed the Socialists and Christian Democrats to get sufficient bums on seats to win the following illegal votes. If he had let things lie, rather than come up with what was admiottedly an elegantly worded amendment the whole report would have fallen. Instead Corbett has the opportunity to reintroduce the limits in Strasbourg in July. Sadly in full plenary Corbett is very likely to get his way.

The behaviour of Jo Leinen as Committee Chairman was an act of arbitary power, and a breech of what I understand to be the rule of law.

So...let's get this straight - you are saying, Gawain, that Timothy Kirkhope should not have bothered to secure additional amendments which meant that the smaller groups were not automatically dissolved should their membership fall below a certain level? If this were to happen you'd be fearing for your job long before your stated objectives were achieved, would you not?

Christina, there are plenty of eurosceptics who have obsessed about our membership of EPP-ED (as the numerous topics about it on this site can testify to). If we are to believe some comments, this was issue that persuaded some of them to vote for Cameron in the first place.

All along the argument used to be that it didn't make sense to sit in a group with the Christian Democrats and UMP when we could create a bold new eurosceptic grouping with our friends from central and eastern Europe. Those friends have failed comprehensively to materialise.

So now the argument shifts to saying actually we don't need to sit in a group at all. That is a betrayal.

As Charles Tannock points out, of course you don't need to sit in a group if all you want to do is make speeches in plenary that influence nothing and are heard by no-one, but you do if you want to be tabling amendments and actually influencing legislation. This whole saga with Kirkhope so nearly having the grouping rule changes thrown out merely serves to underline the importance of the committee seats. If groups are so unnecessary why on earth have UKIP formed one? To what purpose? Why aren't they satisfied with fine speeches in plenary? Why did the neo-fascists attempt to cobble one together?

Adam in London - You are quite wrong. The question of setting up another group was an afterthought when Cameron looked around for an excuse foir breaking his promise which was simply to leave the EPP in a mater "not of days or months bit of weeks". He broke that promise - Please don't wriggle away from that. He is therefore not to be trusted.

In any case try reading dan Hannan on the subject of the totally unnecessary membership of a group. - - -"Leaving the EPP is the best thing I have done in the European Parliament. On my first day as an independent, something happened that had not occurred in eight years in the EPP: a member of the Parliament’s permanent staff came to my office and asked what she could do to help. As a “Non Inscrit”, I find myself with more resources, more staff, more speaking time and more freedom of action. Why? Because my allocations are no longer top-sliced by the EPP, and because I am no longer checked at every turn by EPP staffers who see it as their job to frustrate Euro-sceptics.
If all else failed, the Conservative MEPs could do very well alone. But I suspect that, once we raise the banner of opposition, others will flock to us."

if you wish to make an serious impact on legislation or policy in the Parliament rather than just pursue the BOO mission . . .

The flaw in this argument being that it is news to me - and I suspect would be news to a lot of people - that Conservative MEPs have ever had any serious impact on legislation or policy. So far as I can tell all they ever do is rubber-stamp the federalist proposals and eat the free food.

I've been far too busy working to contribute to this earlier.

Charles Tannock admits that group requirements might have been intended to destroy a "far right" group. Like Norman Tebbitt I see, from their politics, that they were leftists and it is time we stopped falling for the left wing calling extremists right wing.

Also CT has a go at Ashley Mote ex guest of HMP or similar. Whatever you think about Ashley if you ever bother to find out what he does he works his a*** off in the pursuit of democracy both here and in the eu. Ashley believes in Britain something that quite a number of our MEPs seem not to.

Back to the real point of this thread. In common with many my vote for David Cameron was swayed by his committment to leave the EPP. Of course he must instruct our MEPs to to try their damndest to stop this anti-democratic measure.

"Also CT has a go at Ashley Mote ex guest of HMP or similar. Whatever you think about Ashley if you ever bother to find out what he does he works his a*** off in the pursuit of democracy both here and in the eu. Ashley believes in Britain something that quite a number of our MEPs seem not to."

Forgive me - but I don't quite see why this justifies Mr Mote's behaviour. I am quite sure that there are many guests and former guests of Her Majesty who are great patriots - but I don't quite think Love of Country has ever been able to count as "mitigating circumstances".

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