Giles Chichester, an MEP for the region since 1994, has confirmed he is to stand down at the next European elections in May 2014, completing 20 years of service to the region in Europe.
Mr Chichester was elected as an MEP for Devon and East Plymouth in 1994 and then re-elected as an MEP for the newly-formed South West UK constituency in 1999. During his time at the Parliament he served as chair of the Industry, Research and Energy
(ITRE) Committee and even had a stint as a Vice-President of the European Parliament
and showed promise in his hour-long debut in the Strasbourg hot seat
He also served as leader of the Conservative MEPs in the Parliament but resigned from this position in June 2008
after it was alleged that since 1996 he had wrongly sent European parliamentary funds for secretarial and office services through his family business. Mr Chichester insisted the contract was accepted by the Parliament but his decision to stand down was welcomed by party leader David Cameron
after he had admitting a "whoops-a-daisy" moment
and breaking European Parliament rules by channelling £445,000 of allowances through a family company of which he was a paid director.
Writing in his May newsletter to constituents
, Mr Chichester says the Conservative Party has "lost the plot
", writing "it seems to me that too many colleagues in Westminster have allowed their obsession with Europe to cloud their judgement and make them lose their political feel. Divided parties lose elections and history has plenty of precedents to underline that statement.
" He then makes his announcement within a strong attack on UKIP:
“This fourth party, this protest movement, is a one man band with a single issue desperately trying to big itself into a grown up party with a range of aspirations. Many of them are attractive but their numbers don’t add up. I think we should wait for our press and media to take them seriously and then take them apart. We should try to avoid mentioning them, certainly by name, and concentrate on being positive about what we do in Europe.”
“This is easier said than done and it is easy for me to say because I will not be standing at the next election. 20 years is quite enough and it is time for me to make way for new blood. But it is what I think we should try to do.”
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Chichester for his work for the region in Europe over the course of his two decades years in office.
His colleagues and fellow incumbent Conservative MEPs Julie Girling
and Ashley Fox
have both been reselected by the party. A full postal ballot of party members will be conducted to choose the order in which the other candidates will be ranked.
Click here to see list of list of declared MEP candidates in the region.
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