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If our MEPs don't/won't get the house in order I predict that there will be Independent Conservatives standing - and getting votes. Don't say we weren't warned.

I fear a slate of Anti-Sleaze Candidates standing on the single issue of cleaning up politics.

Not only should he be sacked as Tory leader in Europe, he should also be sacked from the party and deselected with a by election called with a new tory candidate.
The party needs to draw up a code of conduct for all who serve in the party as either MEPS, MP,s or councillors.
It should be clear and transparent about what is acceptible and what is unacceptable,, with the penalty for breaking the rules being the following:
1. Sacked from the party
2. Deselected from their post and a by-election called with a new Tory candidate.
Further, all Tory councillors, MP,s and MEP,s should be required to publish their expenses etc online, just as Nadine Dorries and some others volunteer to do.

Neil Kinnock gained hugely in the 1980s from taking on Militant.

David Cameron could do the same by taking on all sleazey parliamentarians.

He will prove himself aleader in the process. This is a big opportunity for him.

PS The other parties are no better than us in Europe.

The less we as a Party drone on about EU issues, the wider our lead in the opinion polls seems to grow.

As Private Eye would say, I wonder if these two factors are related ?

"The Conservative Party's MEP selection process was constructed so that all sitting MEPs were re-adopted. Grassroots members were excluded from what was a centralised and undemocratic process. "

Let's hope they don't do that again next time round.

"The less we as a Party drone on about EU issues, the wider our lead in the opinion polls seems to grow."

The central here is MEPs expenses, not the merits of EU membership. If we leave this issue alone to fester we'll have press screams of "Tory Sleaze".

Some politicians will always take advantage of such an opaque expenses system. The flaws in MEP expenses dwarf anything that Derek Conway could muster.

Yet another superb example of how the EU fails to act democratically and transparently towards taxpayers across the continent.

I have long been unhappy with our cohort to Brussels. With a handful of noticeable exceptions (Hannan, Helmer and Heaton-Harris) our Tory MEPs appear to be going 'somewhat native'?

Without opening the dreaded EU-wound, I would like our MEPs to be more line with the party's overall view on Europe, rather than this poorly hidden crypto-federalism that we're treated to currently.

I am just old enough to have had an understanding of the rigmarole of the european elections last time round and I seem to remember that at this point in the electoral cycle, nobody (except politicos) had even heard of UKIP. I think it would be foolish to write them off so early in the game.

London Tory at 9.41 is mistaken on his basic premise. Quiet about Europe does not necessarily do us any good. We maintained a monastic silence (or rather Mr Cameron did) on Europe for the first 12 months of his leadership - and we were flatlining at 33-36%. We were very quiet indeed about Europe when the farce of the Constitution resurrected was mooted - and Gordon B was looking at a majority of 100+ if he hadn't bottled out.

Once however we started talking taxation people liked what they heard - and our support began to grow. Europe is not at the top of the agenda - the BBC and the Grauniadistas in the media have seen to that - but if it does become prominent we will need, likewise, to establish our position clearly. And we will reap the rewards.

But dealing with what might be termed "sleaze" is not "banging on about Europe" The factor here is transparency: we need to be able to show that we are not in politics for any monetary rewards. Europe has too great a reputation for murkiness: we daren't be associated with it or we face a horrible backlash.

Whilst some MEPs conduct gives cause for concern, the main focus of public distaste remains the House of Commons.

If we are going to clean house and set a better standards of probity the place to start IMV is Westminster. That is also where we'll win brownie points with voters.

Deal with MPs and the MEPs will have no choice than to come quietly. Do it the other way and we remain open to the charge of double standards.

I had just finished as Chairman of Windsor Conservatives when we found out our MP was fiddling his housing allowance; and I have been very concerned about the allowances issue ever since. The more we dug into the 'Green Book' during that crisis in 2002 the more murky the arrangements appeared; it was extremely difficult to establish beyond doubt whether what our MP was doing was illegal/a sackable offence, or merely a breach against some kind of gentlemans club rule, as he kept insisting in his defence.

MP's are judged by a committee of their own; whose standards don't seem all that high to me; all they gave him was a few weeks suspension.

As a PPC I have been a vocal critic of any MP's on all sides who abuse their allowances and the system that seems to allow them to get away with it with impunity.

The only genuine sanction that MP's fear is not from the commons authorities but from their Constituency Associations - i.e. the Party.

MEP's have even less to worry about on that score than MP's do. The only control seems to be the risk of being exposed by a newspaper.

I like Giles Chichester and really hope these allegations aren't what they seem; knowing him I cannot imagine he would be that foolish and from what I have read I am really not sure he has done anything wrong.

However if it turns out that he has in any way taken money to which he is not fully entitled then our party must deal with the matter as they did with Mr Conway, swiftly and without a fudge.

"UKIP are a shadow of their former strength..."

Don't be too sure of that. Five years ago few voters had even heard of UKIP but now, in addition to the MEPs, there is a UKIP MP and there ere two very effective UKIP members of the HofL.

Furthermore there are a large number of angry ex-Labour voters looking for a home and the public feels let down by the lack of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

@ dcj

To paraphrase William Hague, the Conservative Party should be "sceptical about Europe, but not obsessed and boring about Europe".

Praguetory @ o858 'Independent Conservatives' are virtually impossible as the election is fought on a totally undemocratic list basis. Individuals don't count. The leading name on a list is virtually certain of the seat. And who chooses the order of the list? The party machines. What people WILL do is vote UKIP unless Cameron rapidly redeems his promise that "WE WILL NOT LET IT REST THERE" I will for a start, while still remain a Tory at heart.
----------
Londontory @0941 Mayhbe you haven't noticed that Broewn is making such a mess of things that people are rejecting him. And since the polls are a ''zero-sum' game the Tories get more popular by talking about nothing at all! I wouldn't recommend that for a general election strategy, though
---------------
dave B @0942 "Let's hope they don't do that again next time round." That'll all be too late for Britain won't exist then - just Scotland, Wales and 6 regional bits of what was England
-----------------
The whole selection process for MEPs was a disgrace to our party. How c an we be expected to have confidence in our leadership if blatant gerry-mandering was applied to fiddle and fix the lists of those we are being asked to work for and vote for.?

The electorate know that decisions are made with very little, or indeed no, reference to our supposed representatives in Brussels. We have not noticed that Labour or Conservative MEPs are fighting our corner. The EU elections will be used to give both parties a good kicking, voting UKIP will cost nothing and could gain us a country..... so what to lose ?

Anyone who has visited the European Parliament realises instantly that it is deliberately created bandwagon of free and easy living. It was created thus because the Commission wanted to breed a load of dependants on soft living. It is as cynical and calculated as that. I very much doubt if young Mr. Chichester has broken any rules, but he has exploited them to the full. If he has broken rules he must go, and if he is as good a man as his father he will voluntarily fall on his sword.
I would like to know if he was one of the critics of MEP Roger Helmer who was cravenly suspended from the EPP by Tory lickspittles. UKIP has had its critics too, and the Labour Party is full of band wagon riders. The whole EP is based on a corrupting system. Michael Turner

I have no sympathy for Conway, but he did post his expenses on his website (you can look it up) and out of 645 MPs his total claim last year ranked 262nd.
No wonder they wanted to keep them secret.

This is a very good observation:

"I fear a slate of Anti-Sleaze Candidates standing on the single issue of cleaning up politics."
Posted by: Alan S | June 04, 2008 at 09:33

Make no mistake, UKIP candidates will be standing and winning against these greedy MEPs of all parties who just claim expenses, rather than do anything to represent their country. They will protest, of course, with lists of meetings they attended and good causes they espoused, but because the planet is headed towards another "Minimum", all those who have climbed on the AGW bandwagon will be frozen out of office.

The EU will do all it can to bluster and obfuscate, but ultimately, European glaciers will present an inescapable argument. The CAP and the CFP will be untenable as harvests fail and oceans freeze.

Everyday, new evidence about global cooling is published. Even the US Army's chief scientist argues that “changes in the earth’s average surface temperature are directly linked to … the short-term statistical fluctuations in the Sun’s irradiance and the longer-term solar cycles. “The Sun could account for as much as 69 percent of the increase in Earth’s average temperature,” Dr. Bruce West noted.

http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/06/03/army-chief-scientist-sun%e2%80%99s-turbulent-dynamics-driving-climate/

Confirming what many of us have already noted from the anecdotal evidence coming in of a much cooler than normal May; such as late spring snows as far south as Arizona, extended skiing in Colorado and delays in snow cover melting in many parts of the northern hemisphere; the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) published their satellite derived Advanced Microwave Sounder Unit data set of the Lower Troposphere for May 2008.

http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/

Here's my forecast. In three months time, the poor harvest will concentrate minds wonderfully. Next year will be even colder than 2008, so the EU 2009 Elections will be wide open for Candidates who currently oppose AGW hypocrisy. The British 2010 election will see ZanuLabour consigned to the ashpits of history, UKIP MPs will sit in Parliament & Conservatives will engage with the process to take us out of the EU.

Oh yes! What's left of the Lib Dems will have another supervisor. They don't have anyone who could be remotely considered a leader!!!!

Alan S said:

I fear a slate of Anti-Sleaze Candidates standing on the single issue of cleaning up politics.

Why should anyone other than sleazy politicians fear anti-sleaze candidates?

Cameron should give the MEPs an ultimatum - complete transparency now, or you're no longer official candidates. Get every MEP's expenses up on the web where everyone can see them.

"Everyday, new evidence about global cooling is published."

And "everyday" new evidence about global warming is published -- but you of course will only select the facts that suit your prejudices rather than coming to a balanced judgement about probabilities and long-term trends.

Don't be a ditherer Dave - be decisive.

There can be no tolerance of pocketers within Conservative ranks.

For every current MEP swindler there's 10 excellent candidates ready to take their place.

Get rid.

It is very noticeable that the list of MEPs yet to publish their expenses or indeed answer the questions posed by "Open Europe" do seem to be the most enthusiastic about the EU and indeed have sought in every way possible to challenge the Party Leader's policy of pulling out of the EPP

These are also the same people who persuaded the leadership to introduce a system that would guareantee their re-selection.

As for UKIP, the danger would be that if they don't perform well, those votes will go to the BNP. People who loathe Europe will migrate to the Party that reflects their views on the matter

Can people please stop talking tosh about UKIP.

UKIP did well in 2004 for two very simple reasons. Firstly, Robert Kilroy Silk joined them and by doing so made sure UKIP got vastly more coverage than they would normally have. For some reason Kilroy was quite popular at the time and so this will have gained UKIP a huge number of new votes. Secondly the PR voting system makes it easier for smaller parties to gain seats.

So what have the mighty UKIP done since 2004? Kilroy left ASAP and at least two other MEPs have been forced to leave UKIP as well. UKIP have not made any breakthrough in local government and in 2005 they did not gain a single MP, they don't even have any members of the London Assembly now.

Yes they have one MP, a rather browned off Bob Spink, but anyone who seriously thinks he will be in Parliament as a UKIP MP after the next General Election wants their head checked.

As for their two Peers, well I imagine both of thjem rather regret joining UKIP, particularly now that the Tories are doing so well.

As a Party UKIP has little money and hardly any members to speak of and without their EU funding where would they be?

As much as I like Nigel Farage, what have the rest of the UKIP MEPs done since 1999 or 2004?


" I am a lifelong Liberal who is switching to support you," the first questioner, a Middle-aged woman told him. "Will you give the whole country the benefit of a referendum on the EU constitution?"

He would if he could, he told her. But were it to prove impossible, because other states had already ratified it, he would nevertheless fight to get powers back from Brussels."

Fight ? HOW?

Open europe's list of MEPs refusal to disclose details of their expenses was illuminating. If they are not prepared to do so,it can give the impression that they have something to hide. I note that our local MEP James Elles allegedly did not even reply. May I suggest that conservatives do not vote for any candidate unless they come clean about their expenses. Personally having considerable first hand commercial experience of Europe I will be voting for UKIP. The sooner we can get back to a simple trade agreement without all the encumbrances that we now have and never voted for the better

What is the point of talking about "MEPs" being "clean and transparent" when how they were selected was so crooked and covered up?

Everyone knows the selection process was rigged (both in deciding who got on the list and how candidates were selected from the list) and the voting figures are not even going to be made public. So what starts off as dirty is likely to remain dirty.

No doubt the MEPs will remain the all-power-to-the-E.U. "European People's Party" group and will not really campaign for any powers to be returned from the European Union to Britain.

Perhaps things will change, and I will be proved wrong, - but so far the whole thing is a depressing farce.

Tony @1402 - You cannot "not vote for any candidate unless - - - " . You can't vote for a candidate at all. You may want that super eurosceptic candidate but you'll get a europhile like Chister or Kirkhope. The only solution if you are a Tory is to - as you say - vote UKIP (whom I don't like but at at least on this they are united and have delivered as best they can in the EU-rubberstamping forum)

Boycott the Tory lists at the euro elections (Sorry Roger, Dan and a few others who are great people) but I'd just get a bunch of thoroughly nasty people as before if I voted Tory. [And please on't tell me how nice Chichester is - I was on the same ward committee as him! ]

'No doubt the MEPs will remain the all-power-to-the-E.U. "European People's Party" group and will not really campaign for any powers to be returned from the European Union to Britain.'

Quite so, Paul! Furthermore Mr Cameron is quite opaque about what retrospective action, if any, he would take to unravel the Lisbon (Constitutional) Treaty when/if he becomes PM.

So, to put the maximum pressure upon the Conservative Party establishment, all true Tories (as opposed to those who just favour making as much money as possible) and others who wish to preserve our nation state should vote for UKIP in the 2009 EU elections.

Next time it may be too late!

I am afraid that this whole situation has gained a ghastly momentum all of its own and sadly, I think Giles Chichester is probably - to use a nautical phrase - "holed below the water line". If he is going to go, then please let us not make it a long drawn out process and let's get this boil lanced as quickly as possible.

"The only solution if you are a Tory is to - as you say - vote UKIP (whom I don't like but at at least on this they are united and have delivered as best they can in the EU-rubberstamping forum)"

Again this is just complete and utter tosh. If any of you believe that UKIP MEPs are any better than some Conservative MEPs then you are wrong. As I mentioned previously UKIP has already lost at least two MEPs on top of Kilroy and why did these MEPs have to get kicked out?

From UKIP's own website:

"In March 2007, UK Independence Party MEPs voted to withdraw the whip from Tom Wise following allegations that he had been misusing parliamentary allowances. Since that time he has not been a UK Independence Party MEP, despite his claims to the contrary."

And

"Ashley Mote MEP was found guilty on 21 out of 25 charges of fraud in a case brought by the Department of Work and Pensions.

The 25 charges were: nine of false accounting; nine of obtaining money transfers by deception; one of failure to notify change of circumstances; six of evasion of liability by deception (this refers to Council Tax).

He failed to declare to the Benefits Agency, as required by law, that he had incomes from offshore bank accounts, was involved with a number of companies and used their bank accounts to fund a “lifestyle” using credit cards, paying for them with money from a pension fund, spread betting and other business activities.

While spending more than £150,000 from his own undeclared funds, he received more than £73,000 in benefits in the six-year period from 1996 to 2002. The judge said he was sure Mote's evidence did not reflect his true financial position.

He was sentenced to nine months on each of the 21 charges, the sentences to run concurrently."


Richard:

But atleast ukip withdrew the whip from these peole, which is more tha we have done.


This is nothing to do with the eu and everything to do wth our reputation.

Cameron was right to withdraw the whip from conway and he should do exactly the same thing ow.

Dale,

I agree with you. All I am saying is that UKIP are no better and voting for them is not the answer.

Sorry for the missing letters in my above comment, my laptop is going crazy for some reason.

Richard,

Don't worry, I'm sure most would rather stay at home than vote UKIP

With Cameron behaving treacherously as he is and breaking another promise and Chichester under a cloud why on earth vote Tory for the euro-parliament? UKIP are a generally unpleasant lot but their remaining MEPs are doing a good job for Britain in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Peter Lilley is right - Westminster is finished - the MPs are just play acting

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/foreign/brunowaterfield/june2008/gileschichestermep.htm/

It seems there has been an apology.

When Mote applied to become a UKIP MEP he omitted to mention the pending charge. As soon as this came to light the Party expelled him. Instead of resigning honourably he hung on and managed to have his case put off for years: he is still there, no doubt in order to collect his pension. The man is a crook who has brought disgrace on himself, his family, and UKIP.

I`m one of Christina Speight`s unpleasant people. Left the Conservative party over Maastricht and joined UKIP; with all its faults still our best and only hope. And of course a fruitcake and closet racist. That bumptious prig David Cameron said it, so it must be right.

"Only" 80% of our laws are now made in Brussels - they are determined to make it 100%, so it will make no difference whether New Labour or Blue Labour are in charge here.

I suspect the link I provided doesn't work - try this:-

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/foreign/brunowaterfield/june2008/gileschichestermep.htm/

Apology doesn't clear the sleaze label.

Sack him and prosecute him. No favourites.

Apology doesn't clear the sleaze label.

Sack him and prosecute him. No favourites.

I've done my best to defend the MEPs and many of them do a great job, but I am afraid this is blatant! He'll have to go.

That 'mea culpa' nonsense doesn't work - the Labour Party (e.g. Peter Hain) have used it, and it only brings further attention and disapproval onto the person involved. They've done wrong, and should have realised the consequences of being found out. If I were caught stealing from a bank, would I be let off if I told the police when they came for me 'yup, it was me - I'll pay the money back, don't worry'! Somehow, I don't think so.

The only thing left to do is for Giles Chichester to be sacked from his job and from the Party, and someone put in who can be trusted to keep his/her nose out of the trough, and to uphold the reputation of the Conservative Party.

I see that Guido has now started on Den Dover (amusingly referred to as "Ben Dover"!) This could run and run if we are not careful.

Caroline Spellman, this is a festering boil which you need to lance.

You decided to remove from the members the right to pick sitting MEPs.

So it is now your responsibility to discipline any MEP found to have brought the party's name into disrepute.

I therefore expect you to remove Chichester from the MEP list within two weeks.

This tawdry Brussels debacle is an increasingly shameful embarrassment for the party.

Given the sleaze ridden, corrupt nature of Brussels, all MEP's who refuse to provide full disclosure of their financial affairs should be thrown out.

There should be a full investigation by the party of MEP's financial affairs should be undertaken (a committee with someone like Lord Tebbit - as chair would do very nicely).

The selection process for MEPs must be totally transparent and fully open. Sitting MEP's must no longer be given preference over other candidates.

As for Chichester, given David Cameron's recent admirable decisiveness in ejecting wayward representatives, unless Chichester can provide excellent reasons for what has happened (which I seriously doubt if he has already apologized) then he should be ejected from the party along with any of his counterparts who have are also found to have 'lost' their way.

There must be no double standards between Westminster and Brussels.

"John F in Aberdeen" calls for the miss-use of expenses to lead to de-selection & a by-election for MEPs. Unfortunately the EU Parliamentary elections are every bit as undemocratic as the Conservative Party selection process. Even if the "villain" stands down as an MEP (pause for laughter) the EU rules provide that the next person on the list takes his place. There are no by-elections.
Once again the answer is simple. Get us out of this corrupt & undemocratic EU !

No wonder there is a clique of pro european conservatives if this is how they feel they can feather their own nest.
The EU itself of course has no incentive to stop all this corruption - it suits it to bribe its own MEPs - MEPs whom of course have no power anyway, its just a figleaf of 'democracy, a sham to cover up its own authoritarian acts.

But maybe this has done Cameron and the 'mainstream' some good, since the europhile and the euro apologists will have been shown up in their self serving shame.

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