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Can someone explain to me exactly how this rabble of MEP's got selected?

How long have you got, Chris ...?

Does anyone know the voting figures for the leadership election of the 'Conservative' group of MEPs? Am I right in thinking it was a stright fight between Kirkhope and Chris Heaton-Harris?

Or if that takes too long, can you explain why they can't just ne given a kick up the arse?

Kirkhope won by 2-1.

It is interesting how some of the MEPs with widely differing views to our party and indeed the general view of the Public got so high up on the lists.

At least here in the East Midlands we have Helmer and Heaton Harris. We could just do with getting a couple more Conservatives in place of UKIP and whatever party the lesser spotted Kilroy in now in.

How did those people get so high on the lists?

The Conservative delegation is not part of the EPP. We are the European Democrats (ED)section of the EPP-ED group. Timothy Kirkhope was elected Vice-President of the alliance before his election as leader of the delegation. It is not clear whether the Cameron plan (or Dr Fox's) is to break that alliance.

We have not, however, sought to build the ED group with allies from other countries. Some our MEPs behave and talk as if they are members of the EPP rather than the ED group. They do not want a stronger ED section.

Mr Hague will not stand for that. I suspect that he will work out a solution with his Yorkshire colleague Mr Kirkhope. A stronger and more independent ED Group (own secretariat?) and a new looser deal with the EPP is the most likely outcome IMO.

Some of the debate on this issue, including contributions from Parliamentarians and journalists, is uninformed to put it politely.

I don't know? Well they didnt in the East Midlands. Perhaps they had been sitting MEPs fo a substantial amount of time - before we moved to the current method of election - and therefore our members decided to keep them at the top?

"How did those people get so high on the lists?"

The party protected from challenges during the selection process at the end of 2002. Before that they were openly selected by regional hustings meetings. The incumbents were chosen (in general) high up the lists because they were better known. The exceptions were newcomers like Theresa Villiers.

"Better known"...to whom???

Some arch-federalists were placed so far down the list that they weren't elected (such as Roy Perry in the South East, and Lord Stockton in the South West). But the issues that candidates were quizzed on were the Euro, and European integration generally, rather than the specific question of involvement with the EPP.

If this issue hasn't been resolved by the time of the next hustings (probably 2007) then I think you could expect to see candidates who wish to remain in the EPP being pushed to the bottom of the list.

By the way, what is the survey to which the BBC has been referring quite a bit which says Lab more trusted on Europe?
Isn't this a big reversal of the normal result??

""Better known"...to whom???"

To the activists who attended the hustings meetings.

UKIP ttok out not only a few arch-federalists but some Eurosceptics too in 2004.

No chris Labour is nearly always ahead on Europe. Not because of a support of position but because they are trusted more than the Tories.

MORI finds that among those to whom Europe *matters* as an issue (ie those who vote in EU elections) the Conservatives are the preferred party - which is consistent with the results of those elections.

I really hope this campaign promise is kept and not fudged. Cameron will need to show some guts, and not try to please everyone.

If he were really feeling bold, he could consider withdrawing from the grouping *before* negotiating new alliances...

Some of our MEPs can talk eurosceptic talk at the hustings, and then go off to Brussels, and do the opposite. I agree that it is good news to break from the EPP-ED group, though disappointing that it will take months rather than weeks. Still that is better than waiting until the next EU election which are in 2008. I hope Selsdon is wrong, and that we make a complete break from the group, rather than a loose alliance.

Just as MPs quite rightly have a right to be re-adopted by their Executive Council by secret ballot, so sitting MEPs had the right to go straight through to the final hustings meetings which effectively selected for the electable places on the regional lists. Their position on that list was determined by voting at the meetings held across each Region over quite a few days. I hope this helps.

Well, perhaps that right needs to be re-assessed.

Derek, I agree with your views about some of our delegation. I have heard that some Europhile MEPs would rather resign the Conservative whip and join the EPP if they are told to sever all ties with the EPP.

We have to be realistic. Messrs Cameron and Hague will not risk a damaging split or alienating Timothy Kirkhope. There has to be practical way forward that meets the leadership campaign commitment whilst keeping a united team in Brussels and Strasbourg.

And then, we must get around to deselecting those MEPs who wish to remain within the EPP.

Absolutely Sean.Forgive my ignorance (again) but I really don't understand why some MEPs are so wedded to the status quo that they are willing to oppose the party leader to such an extent that they lose the whip.
What benefit do the EPP provide our party and much more importantly our country?

"What benefit do the EPP provide our party and much more importantly our country?"

Many of our MEPs would argue influence and clout in amending legislation. Whether that is true is the key issue of the debate.

Thanks Selsdon.But don't our MEPs vote against the EPP regularly? And isn't it true that all imprtant decisions are taken by the Council of Ministers rather than the Europen Parliament?
I really don't see the downside of forming an alliance with anti Federalist parties of other countries or if that is unpalatable having no alliances at all.

Malcolm - MEPs play a major role in amending legislation in a more business-friendly direction.

Cameron should have a differnet kind of 'golden list' for the next European election, anyone who wants to remain with the EPP should be pushed right to the bottom of any list to make sure we dont have this trouble in the future. In the mean time Cameron better hold good on his campaign promise, otherwise Fox would start to feel even more screwed over than he has been already. We should get out the EPP, now!

Deselecting MEP's? Hmmmm. Remind me of the last time a political party subjected itself to a bout of deselction suicide? Oh yes, the Militant Tendency did it to Labour in the 1980's.

Have you muppets learnt nothing?

Well Gareth,why don't you tell me how being in the EPP benefits us or our country.
Malcolm (the muppet).

What would you suggest Gareth?

Gareth, no MEP or MP should have a job for life. If a candidate for the European Parliament wishes set himself against party policy on the EU, we have every right to take that into account when it comes to selection.

"Forgive my ignorance (again) but I really don't understand why some MEPs are so wedded to the status quo that they are willing to oppose the party leader to such an extent that they lose the whip."

MEPs are drawn from a candidate pool interested in the EU. It's hardly surprising that they have strong feelings either for or against it. Rather more of them support ever close union than oppose it.

Why Conservative MEPs should not sit with the EPP

November 10 2005

It is wrong to talk a good euro-sceptic story at home, then cosy-up to the federalists in Brussels

The EPP is not a centre-right party. It angrily rejects the terms right-wing, or centre-right, or conservative. It insists that it is a centre party. On employment and social issues it is often to the left of New Labour, and to the left of the Liberal Group in the European parliament.

The EPP calls itself "the motor of European integration". It wants an EU army, an EU justice system, an EU "FBI". It wants an end to the British rebate, and to the UK's permanent seat on the UN Security Council. It wants the euro and the EU Constitution. Just which part of this agenda are we Conservatives supposed to support?

It destroys the credibility of Conservative EU policies, and gives credence to the accusations of fringe rejectionist parties, when we say one thing at home and do another in Brussels.

Membership of the EPP actually reduces our influence in Brussels

It is often argued that we gain influence by sitting with the largest group in the parliament. This would be true only if we generally agreed with them. As it is, membership reduces our influence and prevents us from promoting a clear Conservative alternative in Europe.

The EPP wants us in, not only because of the funding we bring them, and because we help them in the Brussels "numbers game", but primarily because within the group they can keep us quiet. In many debates, only group leaders speak, so no Conservative speaks at all, and German Christian Democrat Hans-Gert Poettering speaks on our behalf. In a recent debate, speaking on behalf of the whole group including inter alia the British Conservatives, he said "No one, but no one, can be permitted to stand in the way of European integration".

To rub salt in the wound, UKIP MEP Nigel Farage has done a deal with his group leader to share speaking time, so often he speaks when no Conservative speaks.

Outside the EPP, we should have a Conservative MEP on the "Conference of Presidents".

The "Conference of Presidents" is a key committee of group leaders where we are currently represented by Poettering. It sets the agenda for parliamentary business. If we leave the EPP, and before we even form a new group, we will have a Conservative representative on this vital committee for the first time in living memory.

Membership of the EPP costs us £½ million a year

The EPP top-slices nearly half of the annual €68,000 per capita parliamentary funding that MEPs attract -- a total of well over £½ million across our 27 MEPs. They spend this on pro-integration projects, when we could and should spend it on Conservative priorities.

We can form a new conservative group that would have real influence

Other national delegations committed to free markets, nation-states and an Atlanticist approach are desperate to join us (and this absolutely excludes any hard-right or extremist parties). We believe we could rapidly become the third largest group in the parliament after the EPP and the socialists. Then we could set a genuinely conservative agenda. We should also have more influence with the EPP than we have today, as a despised and trouble¬some minority (we could hardly have less influence than we have today!). They would have to negotiate our support in key areas, and pay for it with real concessions.

My own experience as a "non-inscrit" member demonstrates the point

Since I was expelled from the EPP in June, I have had nearly four times the parliamentary "information funding" than I had before (€38k a year against €10k previously), more speaking time (several times as the first Conservative speaker in debates, ahead of delegation leader Timothy Kirkhope), more staff support, and more access to parliamentary facilities. Best of all, I am no longer "sleeping with the enemy", or living a lie as a committed euro-sceptic in a passionately federalist group.

David Cameron is right. It is time for Conservative MEPs to leave the EPP.

Roger Helmer MEP www.rogerhelmer.com/contraepp.asp

Thanks Roger/Henry/R UK.You make a good case.Can anyone gainsay him?

President Barroso and the Motion of Censure - Kirkhope discredited

May 24 2005

In July 2004, Portuguese politician José Manuel Barroso was nominated as the new EU Commission president. In August 2004, he and his family enjoyed six days free hospitality on a luxury yacht owned by Greek shipping magnate and multi-billionaire Spiros Latsis. In September 2004, the Commission gave the nod (under EU state-aid rules), to a €10 million grant to the Lamda shipyard, in which Mr. Latsis has a substantial interest. Evidence is emerging that Mr. Latsis's companies seem to have other EU connections as well, not least through the notorious Athens airport project .

On Monday May 9th, in the opening plenary session of a Strasbourg week, UKIP MEP Nigel Farage called for a change in the week's agenda to allow a debate on this apparent conflict of interests. There was an electronic vote on Farage's proposal which was lost by a huge margin, all the main political groups opposing it.

We Conservatives were instructed by the Whips' Office not to vote. Don't vote Yes. Don't vote No. Don't even abstain. Sit on your hands and do nothing. Nevertheless, I and Chris Heaton-Harris defied the whip and voted Yes. We both believed that our 2004 Manifesto commitment to oppose fraud and corruption in the EU institutions required us to vote Yes.


All this should make us ask, what the hell are we still doing in the EPP? Seriously if anyone can come up with a convincing argument for staying in, let us know.

always a pleasure Malcolm. A bit of fresh air is urgently needed to disperse the putrid smell emanating from the Euro-Conservatives and Kirkhope's discredited leadership. If only the bloody media would report what is going on in our name in Brussels, we would have left the EPP years ago.

What I want to know is who prevents these stories being reported in the media and how and why?

I was in Russia last month, and the Russians told me that they have more press freedom now than we do.

No one, apart from you lot and your fellow obsessives, cares about Europe. There are no extra votes in it.

We can lose lots of votes though by proving to the electorate once again, that we are obsessed about Europe. We can also demonstrate our irrelevance and inability to focus on issues that really matter to the punters, by conducting a witch hunt within our own ranks, along the lines suggested above.

I know you all get excited about the EPP etc. etc. ad nauseam, but just take a few deep breaths and, if necessary, retreat to a darkened room. I'm sure it will pass.

How you can be so relaxed about such blatant hypocrisy and corruption I really don't understand.

Thanks for being so patronising Gareth.Are you ever going to explain what the benefits of being in the EPP are?
It is David Camerons decision to pull our MEPs out and I for one would need a very good reason to want to oppose him on this.At the moment I can't see any.

Malcolm, what Gareth means is that he's a europhile, but would prefer to patronise, rather than make a case.

It's surprising that he should have backed a leadership contender who intends to pull us out of the EPP.

Gareth please note that this is a weblog in which Conservatives are in effect invited to make the case for leaving the EPP, or for staying in it, amongst themselves.

You have contributed nothing to this discussion by asking us to bury our heads in the sand for longer than we have done already, and be afraid of being criticised by others for having beliefs and standards.

Fear not Gareth. The era of muddled morality is coming to a close. Kirkhope is exposed for what he is. Helmer and Heaton Harris have been making a stand against corruption for 6 years now in the EU parliament. It's time they received the support and congratulations they deserve.

How the party presents the issue of the EPP to those outside the Conservatives is another issue. Do you doubt the ability of our new leadership to a. make the right decision. and b. to present it positively to the outside world? William Hague has great skills as a delivery of policy. Courage mon brave! Whatever happened to Men Of Harlech?

You're welcome Malcolm dear.

John Bowis made an excllent defence of our membership of the EPP on the Today Prograame this morning.

To be honest, I couldn't care less. If the leader of the party told my council group with whom we could do deals though, I'd tell him to get lost.

I didn't hear John Bowis on Today. What did he say?

If you couldn't care less, Gareth why join the blog?

I'm delighted that no one will get past your stalwart council group though. Presumably this is of equal significance to the EPP so please tell us more. Maybe Tim can feature it another day?

Come on Gareth. Something must be bothering you. Whasssupp?

Judging by your website Roger, you could teach the party a lot about recruiting more women. Please enlighten us on the selection process for your political assistants Mr Helmer. You're clearly a believer in giving female talent a chance.

You guys should absolutely quit EPP. I am a member of the Norwegian Conservative Party and we are observers or associates in EPP (since we are not part of the union). I have talked to politicians representing EPP member partie from all over Europe, and many are representing views that are more to the left than New labour in UK. They want a social welfare state that we have in Norway for example.

You should try and forge a parliamentary group with the Polish Conservatives and others who are having a positive view on Europe; that is a no to the euro, the constitution, a common foreign and security policy and a no to CAP.

Definately agree with you there! Did anyone read the Daniel Hannan MEP article in the Telegraph back in October on 'What we can learn from the Norwegians'?

DVA - please be assured that I am not, repeat NOT Roger Helmer MEP. I have had lunch with him once, sat next to him on a flight home from Brussels, bumped into him at a couple of conferences, exchanged about three phone calls and maybe six emails, and that is the extent of our association! Other than receiving his monthly newsletter which you can subscribe to on his website.

I've never asked Roger about the female talent in his employ. We've stuck to the rather dreary issues of EPP and Conservative compliance in corruption and croneyism. DVA obviously has a sharper eye!

As a result I know his story pretty well, but anyone can copy and paste the things from his website to this blog and that is all I am doing.

The idea that I am RH himself seems to be so well established on these blogs that it will be almost impossible to persuade you otherwise. I should be flattered, but I am not so sure how RH himself would feel! I guess he must be pleased that people are at last finding out about the murky deeds going down in darkest Brussels.

Well after several entreaties still not a single person prepared to put forward a case for our MEPS to remain within the EPP,not even the patronising Gareth.I'm not suprised.

Yeah Malcolm. Clearly 2/3 of our MEP's are insane and/or quislings ready to sell the country down the river. Let's get rid of them in a good old fashioned witch hunt. We need the ideologically pure not these neo-Heathite traitors. As a woman in the bus queue said to me the other day, "I'd vote tory if only they'd leave the European People's Party group in the European Parliament".

Sorry Henry Curteis (if that is your real name - would you prefer Malcolm Thomas?) it's just with your constant harping on about Roger Helmer like the woman on Little Britain who always boasts about being Mollie Sugden's bridesmaid I thought you may have been him.

Very witty Gareth, yet you still cant give one good reason for staying in the EPP.

It's funny you should say that Gareth.I too met a woman travelling to London.She said to me 'I think Conservative MEPs should stay in the EPP'.I asked why and she thought about it a bit and then replied,'I've really no idea'.Bit like you really.Or is it?

I don't know how I can psell this out our more clearly. I couldn't care less where our MEP's sat. It's irrelevant. It thoroughly depresses me that anyone should think it matters. I do think though, that it is entirely a matter for them and not the leader.

Apols for the unforgivably poor typing in my earlier post.

I kind of agree with Gareth on this one. Nobody cares about which parliamentary grouping we associate ourselves with in the European Parliament, about from the Eurofanatics. In any case, the European Parliament is little more than a glorified talking shop - the real power lies with the European Commission and the Council of Ministers and all efforts to prevent further federalisation should be focused on those two bodies instead of squabbling about which parliamentary grouping we should be aligned with.

I would agree with that Daniel.As someone who is very sceptical about all the EU institutions I sometimes wonder what is the point of the European Parliament at all.
Given that,I do not wish to support Tim Kirkhope and his friends making trouble for our leader by allying themselves to a grouping whose ideas are inimical to our party and our country.

Starting from where we are, not where some would like us to be:

1) DC said that he wanted to pull out of the EPP, and told a number of MPs & MEPs that this would happen quickly - according to Roger Helmer in week 1 of the leadership. That has since been diluted.

2) If we want to be serious about building a new vision for Europe, we need to find allies who share that vision. We won't be able to do that and remain in the EPP.

I fully agree with all those who say that Europe will not be a decisive general election issue. It hasn't been in the last 2 elections and there is no reason to believe that will change. However, that does not mean that we should ignore it altogether. DC will need to demonstrate that he can deliver on what he says. There are more immediate things for him to deal with, but having said what he has he needs to act at some point in the not-too distant future.

According to a very recent poll, we are not trusted on Europe as a party. That's not a good place to be on any issue, let alone one that has been seen as totemic for us. Saying one thing then doing another will only damage our reputation and credibility.

It is true that most normal people dont really care which parliamentary group we are in, and I also agree with DVA that real power in Europe lies elsewhere. However if people dont care which group we sit in, if we change which group we sit in, it will not effect voters in any significant way at all. Therefore surely there is no excuse for not leaving the EPP to set up a new group more in tune with our beliefs and increasing our influence and finances at the same time.

Also it matters because Cameron made it a campaign promise, if he backs down it makes him no better than Blair.

I'm sorry but I can't agree with Gareth on "its a matter for them" - The EU "Parliament" isn't a representative democracy, its' a Party List system so its a matter for the Leader and the Party which so called European Party Grouping we belong to. It doesn't need much time spent on it - we don't agree with EPP, we do agree with ED - leave EPP set up a new grouping. If no one joins us does it matter - the Parliament is not a serious political actor.

It's preposterous and unfair to suggest that Kirkhope is 'making trouble for the leader' by allying himself to the EPP. We've been allied to the EPP for donkeys. Long before DC became leader or made his pledge.

I think DVA's a Ken Clarke supporter!!!!

Now look Henry Curteis, Malcolm Thomas or whichever nom de plume you're using today - if you read my post carefully, you will see that I am opposed to further federalisation. Just because I think there are more effective ways of pursuing this opposition than a petty squabble about an issue only those with fanatical views on Europe have more than a passing interest in, it does not automatically follow that I subscribe to the Ken Clarke line on Europe. Do try to keep up old chap.

Will the real Roger Helmer please stand up! This is he.

Thank you to whomever posted the section from my website.

Just two points:

1 The so-called "ED" is no more than a cosmetic fiction. We were promised a genuine measure of independence with our own funding and our own staffing. But the EPP blocked any moves in that direction. That deal is dead. Which is why Tory MEPs can no longer be bound by the five-year commitment they gave (under duress) before the last election to stay with the EPP. The EPP has not delivered its side of the deal.

But the good news is that this row has brought the europhiles out of the closet. Gone are the days when they could make a eurosceptic speech once every five years at reselection, then go to Brussels and cosy-up to the federalists for five years. Now Conservative members know who they are. And they will not be reselected.

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