Fainting in Coyles An occasional letter from the
Heart of Euroville
Friday, April 02, 2004
Tory Euro MPs in disarray over Eurostat
At 7.43am on the first of April an email appeared in the inboxes of the Conservative MEPs. The email, which many must have thought was an April fool’s joke in particularly bad taste, was from Jonathan Evans, leader of the Group. (interestingly the mail was also addressed to Dana Scallon, the independent Irish member who seems to be taking instructions from the Tories).
In it Evans required that the entire delegation take their names from a motion of censure. The motion of censure was calling for a parliamentary vote on censuring the EU Commission on its appalling handling of the Eurostat affair. Many Tories have been intimately involved in prosecuting this case. For a motion to be accepted 63 signatures are necessary. The loss of the Tory names would cause the motion to fall.
It seems that Evans and the Tories had just accepted the secondary role in the EPP/ED group that had been allotted to them, and Evans had been to talk with the leader of the EPP group, Hans-Gert Poettering. At that meeting, which I understand was heated, Peottering made it clear that the Tories names had to go. Thus the email.
Today Poettering announced at the Conference of Presidents, (the governing body of the Parliament) that 22 signatures from the EPP/ED had been removed.
There had been an uneasy truce between the pro-European and Eurosceptic sides of the Tory delegation now it seems there is open war. What threatened to become a split after the elections in June, when certain members had made it clear to me that they would split from the EPP has now happened at the worst possible time, before the elections.
Meanwhile there were celebrations involving chilled champagne in the offices of UKIP as they watched the implosion of Tory party unity.