"This afternoon William Hague, Timothy Kirkhope MEP and I met with Joseph Daul in Strasbourg. The meeting was amicable and during the course of it, we confirmed to M. Daul our long-standing intention to leave the EPP and establish a new grouping in the Euroepan Parliament after the 2009 elections."
With what would appear to be extremely prescient timing, last night's Newsnight featured a film about progress on David Cameron's pledge to take Conservative MEPs out of the federalist EPP in the European Parliament.
French MEP Jospeh Daul, the chairman of the EPP, was interviewed on the programme and said that "we have now reached the point where David Cameron really does need to decide" [whether the Conservatives definitely will pull out and, if so, when].
Well, it looks like he will have his answer very soon. William Hague is today travelling to Strasbourg, where he will meet M. Daul, and I hear that it is his intention officially to give him notice of the party's intention to leave the group at the end of this term of the European Parliament, before the elections in June. He will be accompanied by shadow Europe minister, Mark Francois, and they will also be having meetings with the Conservative MEPs and a variety of putative partners for the a new political grouping.
I will post any further details when I have them.
ConservativeHome's views about the EPP are well-documented and the party's departure from it cannot come a moment too soon.