Senior Conservative MEP Giles Chichester
has admitted that his party leader David Cameron was wrong to withdraw his MEPs from the EPP group in the European Parliament – the largest and most influential – in order to create a smaller and marginalised group on the sidelines called the European Conservative and Reformists
During David Cameron’s campaign to become Conservative Party Leader he promised to take the Conservative MEPs out of the mainstream centre right EPP group
in the European Parliament if elected. In 2009, Conservative MEPs left the EPP and set up the ECR, a fringe group in the European Parliament.
The admission comes in reaction to an event last week while MEPs met in Strasbourg for their monthly plenary session: the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso irked members of the ECR group when during one of the sessions he (exceptionally and rightly) laid into them for “taking delight" in the eurozone debt crisis
Reacting in this month’s email newsletter
published today, Mr Chichester writes:
"Coming back to the mood in Parliament, I believe that we did ourselves and the centre-right a disservice when we left the EPP. They are now free to indulge in knee-jerk Brit-bashing because we belong to a small, marginalised group and that makes us an easier target. We no longer have our moderating influence within the largest group in the Parliament."
But it’s not only the ECR’s loss according to Mr Chichester:
"They [EPP] are losers too because of the balance and political leadership skills we brought to the group have gone."
While that may be so when talking about a few of their MEPs, the fact remains that the UK has lost tremendous influence within the European Parliament through the group’s marginalisation since the Conservative delegation is the largest returned by UK electors at the last election alongside UKIP...
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