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Fourteen Tory MPs set out a 'Mainstream Euroscepticism' in letter to the FT

By Tim Montgomerie
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On the day that Germany will renew its efforts to persuade Britain to join other EU countries and agree a new bailout for Greece, fourteen new Tory MPs have written to the FT (£) with a simple message:

"We are concerned that the solutions to the crisis proposed by eurozone countries amount to no more than “throwing good money after bad” and will further expose the British taxpayer to any future economic meltdown."

The fourteen, led by the former MEP Chris Heaton-Harris, are determined to set out what I'd describe as a 'Mainstream Euroscepticism'. They want to push the Coalition to be more ambitious for EU reform but they also reject what they see as the 'impossibilism' (again my phrase) of some of the backbench Eurosceptics. Heaton-Harris recently led opposition to a motion from Mark Reckless on bailouts.

In their letter (sent deliberately to the FT in order to underline its seriousness) the MPs set out the kind of EU reform agenda that they would like to see and which, I guess, might be compatible with the Coalition:
  1. We must take the taxpayers’ side in resisting further bail-outs;
  2. Liberalisation of trade;
  3. The principle of subsidiarity;
  4. Wholesale reduction of the waste for which the European Commission is responsible;
  5. Above all we must start getting some value in return for the significant sums that UK taxpayers contribute to the EU’s budget.

'The Fourteen' are listed below but one of the letter's signatories has just told me that (1) with more time and (2) without many of the new intake being limited by their PPS status the letter could easily have been signed by one hundred members of the new intake.



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