Last week I wrote about how I'd been told that Roger Helmer and Dan Hannan didn't attend the fringe event by the Bruges group because CCHQ had issued a fatwa/decree/thrown a tantrum.
However, due to 'heavy pressure' explained Barry Legg, the two Tory MEPs were not in a position to attend. As Trixy hears it, both MEPs, who sit with the non attached in the European Parliament because they did not tow the line of the Europhile group they sit with, received letters from CCHQ telling them they were not allowed to share a platform with Nigel Farage MEP. Ever.
Well, the plot, as you may guess from the title of this post, thickens.
And on an interesting day too; the day I was informed that the Tory party only put the line about about the EU referendum to try to neutralise the UKIP threat and that they shall be throwing everything they can at these EU elections to remove the gadflies who rather inconveniently highlight that the Conservative Party never wants to talk about the EU because it's so divided and that they're in favour of paying them billions of pounds a year to have them destroy this country.
By whom was I told this? Someone who was chatting to a regular dinner companion of David Cameron. Take it or leave it, it bothers me not.
Anyway, I digress to satisfy your nosy urges. For I was talking about the Bruges Group. Roger Helmer has written about it on his website:
They may have had the impression that we had simply failed to turn up, or had cancelled at the last moment, but this was by no means the case. I had written to Robert Oulds of The Bruges Group on September 9th, nearly three weeks before the event, to tell him that Dan and I would not be able to attend, and I was rather sorry that no attempt seems to have been made to reflect that in pre-publicity for the meeting.
Not surprisingly, Farage’s proposition was “Conservatives running scared of a UKIP debate”, and “Tory high command gags MEPs”. Neither of these points is true, so let’s look at what actually happened.
I am prepared to debate against UKIP any place, any time. However, a number of colleagues (in Brussels, not in CCHQ or Westminster) felt that by sharing a platform with the leader of a fringe party at our own Party Conference, we gave UKIP unnecessary airtime and credibility.
What Roger says is true, he did cancel three weeks in advance and consequently, there weren't any empty chairs.
But what I'm interested in is really why he cancelled. My sources tell me, and I quote:
the threat was one of deselection, and if ever he appeared on stage with NF [Nigel Farage] not just one off! Same for Hannan I think.
Given the brave decision Roger took which lead him to no longer sit with the EPP (he backed Nigel Farage's motion of censure on the Commission for not declaring holidays and gifts and ignoring requests of MEPs to answer their questions) I find this all rather confusing. Why authorities in Brussels? Roger Helmer sits in the Non Attached group away from the other British Conservatives.
Why is there an e-mail talking of threats an deselection if it was just an agreement to ignore Nigel and Heffer because they didn't want to give UKIP credit at Tory party conference, which would obviously happen because the Tories in the EU are not the Tories they like to pretend they are at home and anything brave which has happened has been generally at the instigation and budget of Farage and the Ind Dem group and not the Tories.
It seems more likely to my cynical mind that there was a real threat and that party loyalties and a wish to be reelected are keeping that under wraps.
If that were the case it is rather sad: Hannan and Helmer are two figures used by Tories for not voting UKIP because, with those two in the Tory party, another political party championing the cause of self governance outside of the EU is not needed. That would not be the case if the other scenario has truth in it.