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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Those troublesome Tory MEPs

The BBC reports that David Cameron's attempts to reform the way that Conservative MEPs. An unsigned memo written by a Conservative MEP is a "direct breach of the rules of the European Parliament" and likely to bring a PR "defeat".

The document suggests that an attempt by Mr Cameron to merge the European and Westminster expenses system "threatens the worst of both worlds". It describes the proposal as a "direct breach of the Rules of the European Parliament", which will "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" in PR terms. It adds that Mr Cameron's plans threaten to "scupper plans for a new group" for the Conservatives to join after the party's planned withdrawal from the centre-right EPP-ED group after the 2009 elections. The memo also argues that the legal basis of the proposed sanctions is "very shaky".

The memo is evidence that the Conservative Party is struggling to get its members to agree to the higher standards required by voters of those in public life. As Norman Baker says: "The reality is that Tory MEPs are a by-word for inappropriate claiming of expenses. The words 'Tory and sleaze' go together as easily as cheese and sandwich."
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