Thursday, 25 June 2009

Tory MEPs ideologicially belong in different groups.

I have always found it fascinating that the Conservative party contains within it politicians who believe we should be part of a federal Europe and politicians who believe we should leave the EU altogether. After all, this no normal policy issue. It is the issue which decides, fundamentally, how the country is to be governed.

It comes as no surprise to me that David Cameron is already going to be developing quite a headache over his new European Parliamentary grouping. A Finnish MEP has already quit the group, putting its very survival on a knife-edge given EU group quotas. But more worryingly a senior Tory MEP Edward McMillian-Scott has come out publically and expressed concearn over some of the Tories new allies.

Make no mistake about it, this was a calculated political move from McMillian-Scott who represents the europhile majority of Tory MEPs. Expect further dissent. After all, while the likes of Dan Hannan and Roger Helmer are likely to be appeased with this new arrangement, people like McMillian-Scott will be looking for any opportunity to revert back to the Parliament's largest grouping, in the EPP, where generous funding and commitee positions await.

I predict this new grouping is not going to contain every Tory MEP for long. Certainly not for the duration of the next five year EU Parliamentary sitting. Once the europhiles within it begin to realise that they are no longer sitting with passive europhiles, all hell is going to break loose. The Tory party cannot realistically expect for its MEPs to go along with consensus and sit happily with a eurosceptic or europhile grouping. David Cameron may have attempted to paper over the cracks in his party, but they remain. And so they will.

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