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« Hustings Report (6): Perth | Main | DD fails to draw the crowds »


malcolm thomas

Daniel - does it matter? If so send an email to [email protected] and I will give you a personal reply.

Daniel Vince-Archer

Not really Malcolm/Henry/Rodge, was just curious that's all.

Martin Smith

I sincerely doubt that others would follow us Rob. Unlike us the parties I mentioned are members of the EPP itself, too, not just the EPP-ED parliamentary group, and the fact that they are small parties from small countries trying to establish themselves on the European stage means that they are more likely to favour membership of a big-tent established and "influential" group like the EPP than a new, risky, potentially fringe project which is closer to their beliefs. They are probably wrong to see it that way, but that's the reality.

On the other hand we could make our own grouping of just ourselves, ODS and Law&Justice. Which is worth examining, but we need to realise that apart from those parties, the ones we could attract it to it are undesirable (UKIP...) and the desired ones would not be attracted to it, and it would just be the 3 of us. We need to steer clear of the illusion that we could create a mass grouping.


What right has the leader to tell MEP's which group they should belong to?

Will he be dictating to council groups with whom they can and can't form coalitions in council chambers?

Only yesterday, Cameron was promising the Scottish Party the autonomy to write its own manifesto. Why are MEP's to be forced into a decision they do not support? very odd.

Yet another Anon

Withdrawal from the EU, European Court of Human Rights and European Court of Justice is the only sensible option.

Then negociating a trade deal with the EU as Mexico has done, perhaps considering joining EFTA and NAFTA and strengthening trading links with the Commonwealth which anyway has the scope of sharing items that are not available in one country or other - there will be far more success growing Coffee or Chilli's in many of the Common wealth countries than in the EU and as far as I know things such as strawberries don't grow so well in tropical regions.

Yet another Anon

There are some things on which there have to be agreement in Europe though of which fishing is one, fish are not respecters of national borders - certainly the EU cannot be ignored whether the UK is in or out of it but on many issues it is as much in the EU's interest to get a deal as it is in the UK's interest.


James H

I wasn't talking about the Conservatives influence in the EU but Britain's influence under a Conservative Government.

Whilst the Tories may be irrelevant to the EU Britain is the 2nd largest economy in the union and wields considerable influence.

Justin Hinchcliffe

I agree with Gareth - despite being a DC supporter. It is astonishing that this page is so long; have we not learnt anything from three massive election defeats? People want decent services (funded by, but not necessarily run, by the State), a liberal society together with social justice.

malcolm thomas

We don't all need three names. Two's enough for most of us. At least we shortened IDS - perhaps DVA?

It's no good trying to rebrand the EPP as ED. It hasn't worked. Maybe EC sould be our the next group? European Conservatives. I think many others will follow. (not authorised opinion - my own!) We need out of the EPP or more vomit will RHelmer wouldn't write that would he?!

Interested Observer

There is a difference between the Party needing to give an issue prominence - health and education or whatever - and the party running itself properly. This is not a matter of what party to ally ourselves with (as in a council) but what party we are actually a member of.

Just because it excites the interests only of party members doesn't make it an unimportant issue. But it doesn't put it on page one of our next manifesto either (given DD has already printed copies, its a bit late anyway).

James Hellyer

"Whilst the Tories may be irrelevant to the EU Britain is the 2nd largest economy in the union and wields considerable influence."

And how this would this influence be diminished by ceasing to sit with federalist groups with unConservative agendas?


I'm afraid I have grave doubts about the desirability of being associated with some of the Eastern European Parties in particular. I can't help but fear that if one were to scratch some these supposedly centre-right democrats there might be some unpleasantness underneath.


Whilst the Tories may be irrelevant to the EU Britain is the 2nd largest economy in the union

Second or third - it is a moot point depending upon how the US Dollar feels whether France is indeed richer overall; but in per capita terms Britain does not look too rosy. Then again in per capita terms the EU ranks with Alabama I believe.

I am not sure how much influence Britain does wield...........when GM and Ford file Chapter II in the USA we shall see how European Stock Markets react and how many jobs are cut. Since Britain decided the State should not own utility companies the French State through EdF has built up a large holding and the duopolists EoN and RWE control another large chunk - so whatever happens EU rules will be important to British utilities since they affect the parent companies.

I doubt Britain could now disengage from Europe as such and the fine words in the Tory leadership campaign are basically meaningless

Barbara Villiers

I would think that aligning with EPP keeps us in the mainstream of European politics, allowing us to achieve maximum influence on European legislation but without binding us to the EPP's views on institutional and constitutional issues. And it gives us the advantages of being part of a big group in terms of committee roles and money. If we were to break with EPP as David Cameron has suggested, there is the real danger that this would mean an affiliation with a rag-bag of fringe parties, including nationalists and racists.

Davis actually said he would leave it to the MEPs. Only 7 as I understand, want to leave it.


Don't get me wrong I'm not defending the EPP, I think individual members should be free to chose.

However I would prefer membership of the EPP to membership of a group involving UKIP and some of the nastier right wing parties across Europe, the equivalents of Le Pen etc.

Selsdon Man

That will not happen, Wasp. We can attract other parties from the EpP, Liberal and other non-authoritarian groupings.

Barbara Villiers

Pretty big task that Selsdon Man. I think Cameron was ill advised to suggest pulling out at this point but I seriously don't think this will harm him. Only nerds like us care about EPP.

Simon C

This is an issue about consistency. The EPP's vision for Europe is entirely different from the Conservative Party's position. Cameron (following Liam Fox's lead) has recognised that.

If we are serious about building a new vision for Europe and making it a reality, we need to start to find partners who will help us make that happen. The EPP will offer no such help - although it is to be hoped that some of its members may follow our lead and join us in a new centre-right coalition.

At present we can stand accused of saying one thing at home, and another in Europe. That needs to change.


I've just had to sit down.

I agree with every word of Barbara's post!

Daniel Vince-Archer

Don't worry Gareth these things happen. I once agreed with Jack Stone!

Selsdon Man

I recommend Dan Hannan's pamphlet on the EFTA option on the Bruges Group site. Norway and Switzerland are flourishing outside the EU. Norway is in the European Economic Area whereas Switzerland is not.

I am not advocating secession - merely suggesting that we should consider our options.


Sorry but just looked at EPP homepage - "catalysts in drafting constitution...supporting Yes vote...believes in a Federal Europe" - and we should stay in this Party?

Barbara, I thought better of you - how can you defend hypocrisy in action (join the party so we can attend the jollies but really we don't go along with the Party's stated objectives - but's lets pretend it's a real Party anyway) then accuse DC of not being up front and consistent. If DD did make the bargain with the Clarke Europhiles rumoured elsewhere you don't need to go along with it - I don't go along with all the stuff DC spouts.

If we want to change Europe then let's start doing it - try to set up a non federal centre right coalition. You never know we might get takers.


I think the EFTA option is a last resort and not one that should be considered until we really know how the post-enlargement EU will look like.

I personally can't forsee a situation where I would support withdrawal but its something the Conservatives in general should keep open.


Coming back on that Ted, not everyone in Europe looks at politics through an EU phobic eye, the EPP may share many centre-right ideals that the Conservatives would happily sign up to.

Surely the Tory Party cannot similtaneously proclaim a belief in national self-determination AND sign up to an avowedly Euro-federalist grouping. That's exactly the kind of hypocrisy and doublespeak that gives politics a bad name in the eyes of the public. And the situation is only made worse when access to more money is invoked as a reason to stick with the EPP. Let's be true to our convictions - and those of the British people - on the central issue of who runs this country.

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