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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tory double standards

There is no doubt that this weekend's Liberal Democrat Conference has been dominated by the very timely defection of Edward McMillan-Scott to the Liberal Democrats. Not only has his decision to join the party focussed attention onto our party but it has also exposed once more the fundamental splits in the Conservatives over Europe and the fragile hold that David Cameron has on his own party. No party on the verge of power should be suffering the loss of so senior a member in this way.

In this morning's Observer Mr. McMillan-Scott outlines the reasons why he left the Tories to join the Liberal Democrats accusing his former party of "visceral euroscepticism", "twisted" thinking and bullying tactics that forced him out of the party.

He has also accused the Tories of "extraordinary double standards" for expelling him permanently, having only suspended Lord Archer, who was sentenced to four years in prison for perjury in 2001.

He says that the Tories unleashed a "campaign of vilification" against him after he claimed that Michal Kaminski, the Polish MEP who now leads their centre-right group in the EU, had an antisemitic, homophobic and racist track record:

He accuses Cameron of tolerating eurosceptics who depart from the party line while persecuting him, a pro-European, for daring to express sincerely held doubts about the leadership credentials of a controversial fellow MEP.

"David Cameron shields his europhobes," he writes. "No murmur was made when last weekend Lord Tebbit in effect encouraged Conservatives to vote Ukip in the general election against the Speaker, John Bercow. The dog whistle is really at a lower pitch: that Ukip supporters know that there is a real home for them, back in the Conservative party."

Just adds to the record of duplicity as seen yesterday in the Commons when an "un-named" tory sabotaged an anti-poverty bill that was supposed to have cross party support.
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