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I think the major problem will again be do we believe in the right of the MEPs to choose what group they are in or from central office. I would back the first but then tell members if they don't like the group still being in the EPP(or the other way round) then deselect the MEPs who back it before 2009?

Michael McGowan

I think that this is a side issue which is taking up far too much time....but I am wary of taking advice from a confirmed Blairite commentator such as Peter Riddell.


Inclined to agree with Riddell, leaving the EPP would weaken a future Tory government's influence in the EU.

Also I wouldn't want to see conservtives sitting with UKIP and nutty right wing organizations. BNP?

Richard Weatherill

The EPP logo says it all really.


I don't think that there is ANY suggestion, wasp, that we'll sit with BNP-style groups. I can't see DC tolerating such cohabitations in any way.

Selsdon Man

If David Cameron reneges on his promise, he will be under fire from a lot of Eurosceptic supporters (MPs and MEPs) for whom this was a decisive issue.

Selsdon Man

Editor, it is Martin CALLANAN, not Callahan.

James Hellyer


The weasel word of choice for EU federalists.


I heard Mandelson talking about us losing our 'influence' in Europe and now you Wasp.What influence do we have exactly and is that influence worth having if we have to ally ourselves with a bunch of federalists who have views that are contrary to the overwhelming number of Conservatives.
Perhaps it is necessary that we need to have allies but would it not be possible for our MEPs to simply vote in favour of those issues they approve of with whoever supports them and against those they don't.

Interested Observer

The withdrawal from the EPP is about having to fight an election on a manifesto which is, in some cases, diametrically opposed to domestic party policy - e.g. on social, economic and employment issues. We do have natural allies in Europe e.g. the ODS in the Czech Republic, Platforma Obywatelska in Poland, Isamaaliit in Estonia, to name but a few, who all support a looser federation, economic reform and an Atlanticist stance.

Newer Tory MEPs are more hostile to the EPP than the older hands. Staying in the EPP is as problematic for the new leader as leaving it, since one or other groups of Conservative MEPs will be up in arms.

And, yes, it is taking up too much time in this debate, as it should be a no-brainer.


This is one of the issues I agree with Cameron most on, the Conservative MEPs should leave the EPP and seek to form a new group including many of the parties from the 10 new countries, we have a chance to have even more influence in Europe and lead a new anti-federalist, pro-free market group and only then can the UK effectively challenge the current France/German axis and change the direction of the EU. It was stupid of MEPs to commit to 2009, I would be extremely disappointed if Cameron was to back down on this issue.


How much funding will Tory MEPs lose if they abandon the EDD link to the EPP ?

Then again, just what will distinguish the Tory MEPs from UKIP ?

Surely it would be better to see what the new German and Polish Governments are going to do first ?

Selsdon Man

If we leave the EPP, we could take other parties, especially from Eastern Europe, with us. We could also attract some of free market parties from the Liberal group too.


"Surely it would be better to see what the new German and Polish Governments are going to do first ?"

Why dont we lead the agenda in Europe instead of waiting to follow others?
Why dont we show the political courage we have been lacking the last 15 years?


'How much funding will Tory MEPs lose if they abandon the EDD link to the EPP ?'
Does it matter?

Cllr Iain Lindley

How much funding will Tory MEPs lose if they abandon the EDD link to the EPP?

Very little, if any at all. Most of the money allocated to Conservative MEPs on account of their membership of the EPP-ED goes into the central EPP pot, to be spent on projects most Conservatives are solidly opposed to.

If we are capable of forming a new group with the parties named by Interested Observer above, then our grouping with have more money to spend, with far fewer strings attached.

Richard Weatherill

The Davis camp tend to dismiss Cameron's pledge as (by implication, 'merely') symbolic. They're right: leaving the EPP would symbolise a party that means what it says, is not just interested in power (sorry - "influence") at any price and is, to use a favourite Cameron buzz-word, consistent.
I wouldn't object to EPP-ED membership quite so strongly if the 'ED' component of the grouping had any separate public persona. Yet I cannot find anything on the EPP-ED web site that acknowledges its separate identity as a group that is non-federalist and not totally sold on the single currency and the constitution.
As others have suggested, I'm sure that with a bit of effort and imagination Conservatives who left the EPP could form an alliance with other moderate 'free-nation' MEPs, without the need to consort with the more lunatic fringe. (Although, of course, that's how Blair would seek to portray it.) I believe such a move could be an exciting and refreshing prospect for the Party.


The arguments in favour of withdrawal of the EPP are far superior to those made for staying in, I belief the majority of the membership are behind it and I think Cameron should show us what leadership skills he has by nipping any revolt by a few MEPs in the bud. Perhaps this could be a defining moment in the start to Cameron's leadership, a Clause IV moment if you like. Lets hope he impresses!

Kate Castle

I'd been wondering about this point. If we pull our MEPs out of the EPP, aren't they going to be about as useful as say the SNP are in Westminister. The majority of the EPP may be more pro-Euro than us. But the EU Parliament deals with issues on a day to day basis rather than simply integration. On those issues aren't we more likely to be comfortable with the EPP than another group, or isolated by themselves? (it's a genuine question, rather than a statement of opinion)

malcolm thomas

Roger Helmer MEP lost the Conservative/EPP whip for speaking out in the EU Parliament against Barroso's apparently corrupt practices. He now says he has far more money available which he is spending in his East Midlands constituency. Previously half the cash was devoured by compulsory EPP contributions.

Anyone who doubts that this is an important democratic issue should go to and look at LATEST NEWS at the bottom of his home page, and track the story from its beginning.

It is disgusting that fellow Conservative MEP's are using such tactics to exclude Roger Helmer for speaking out on EU corruption in the EU Parliament - which is a manifesto commitment, and that Ken Clarke MP has criticised Roger Helmer about the issues on national radio, getting the facts wrong.

Roger Helmer must be backed to the hilt on this. It is not totemic euroscepticism, but essential if democracy in Europe is to stand a chance of surviving. Many millions have died for this. Now all we have to do is quit a corrupt and disgustingly undemocratic organisation that we should never have joined in the first place.

Get out of there Mr Cameron fast - get Europe moving in the right direction - put a bounce in the Conservative step.

malcolm thomas

As for Ken Clarke QC MP's actions on this let Roger speak for himself.

Open letter to Ken Clarke

The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP 3 September 2005
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

Dear Kenneth

World at One, September 1st

On this programme, you declared that Michael Howard had withdrawn the Conservative Whip from me. This was a false, damaging and prejudicial allegation, and you chose to make it on one of the nation's highest-profile radio programmes.

Many concerned constituents have written to the leader on the question of the reinstatement of the whip, and his office has repeatedly insisted that the question was an internal matter for the Conservative delegation in Brussels.

In fact the whip was withdrawn by delegation leader Timothy Kirkhope and Chief Whip Philip Bradbourn, because I insisted on fulfilling a clear manifesto commitment to highlight cronyism and malpractice in the European institutions, despite firm instructions from Kirkhope and Bradbourn, backed by disciplinary threats, not to do so.

In the circumstances, I believe that the least that I can expect is that you should issue a public retraction of this damaging allegation. And an apology would not come amiss. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely


Daniel Vince-Archer

Malcolm Thomas/Henry Curteis, are you actually Roger Helmer MEP?


Blatantly another good reason to leave the EPP

Martin Smith

The problem with leaving the EPP-ED is that all these arguments have been mooted and explored before in the last EP session and been found to be unworkable.

Talk of forming alliances with like-minded non-federalist, free-market, Atlanticist Conservative parties is great, the problem is most of them are in the EPP*, even though - and this is the point - they don't agree with a lot of the EPP's platform.

The Swedish Moderat Party is a classic example - 75% of their youth wing campaigned for the no side in the euro referendum. They also have a member of staff who spends half of his time ensuring that EPP resolutions never get translated into Swedish! They all idolise Thatcher & Reagan and love British Conservatives. But they are in the EPP because that's where most Centre-Right parties are.

In light of this I think the most sensible thing would be to negotiate, potentially in conjunction with those parties inside the EPP who are not 100% at ease with it, for greater voting independence, because for many of the parties with whom we could work outside, many of whom remember are from small countries who have only just joined the EU and prefer to be in an established grouping, leaving the EPP is too big a risk.

And if we were to establish ourselves as a significant presence there may be more of this: "We do not want a super-European state, instead we want a decentralized Union based on the member states" - EPP president Wilfried Martens - than this: "We want to create a political Union with a Common Foreign and Security Policy" - same guy :-)

*examples: Danish Conservative Party, Swedish Moderat Party, SDKU (Slovakia), Res Publica & Pro Patria (Estonia), New Era (Latvia), Homeland Union (Lithuania), Civic Platform (Poland).


This is exactly why we should lead the way and exit the EPP, like minded parties would follow. The UK Conservative Party has the potential to be a leader in the EP, increase its influence and most importantly do the right thing, keeping true to our principles!

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