.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tory MEP defects to the Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have today reaped benefits from David Cameron's unsustainable Euro-scepticism with the defection of estranged Tory MEP to Nick Clegg's party.

Edward McMillan-Scott is the MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber and the former leader of the Conservatives in the European parliament. He clashed with David Cameron last year over the Tory leader's decision to remove his MEPs from the centre-right European People's party and set up a new group, European Conservatives and Reformists, with controversial allies from eastern Europe.

He successfully stood against Michał Kamiński, the Polish MEP chosen to lead the new group, for the post of vice-president of the European parliament, and as a result he had the Tory whip removed:

The MEP said today: "I have been around the higher circles of the Conservative party for long enough to fear that on Europe Cameron says one thing in opposition and will do another in government.

"I have long fought against totalitarianism and the extremism and religious persecution it brings. It was wrong of Cameron to associate with MEPs who have extremist pasts in his new European alliance."

Kamiński has been accused of antisemitism and homophobia, while the Latvian party For Fatherland and Freedom, also in the Tories' new coalition, has been criticised for commemorating Latvian Waffen SS soldiers.

McMillan-Scott added: "My reasons for joining the Liberal Democrats are that in Nick Clegg they have a leader whom I like, admire and respect. They are internationalists, not nationalists. They are committed to politics based the values of fairness and change."

Clegg paid tribute to his new MEP, saying: "For many years he has fought for human rights and democracy world wide and he is rightly a respected politician across Europe. As someone of principle he has refused to cosy up to rightwing extremists, despite pressure from the Tory machine.

"This flies in the face of David Cameron's claims of change. It shows that people of principle, who believe in fairness and want real change for Britain are at home in the Liberal Democrats."

I cannot think of a better start to our Birmingham Conference.
I'm never usually very keen when elected politicians defect (I think it started with the SDP!) but this is good news. Wonder how many more Liberal tories will be back?
I suspect the real reason he defected was the promise of a peerage. Roll on 2014 and Lord MS of somewhere or other ...
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?