+++ BREAKING: Conservative MEP defects to Liberal Democrats

Exciting news live from the LDV Broom Cupboard in Birmingham’s ICC.

News reaches us that Conservative MEP Edward McMillan-Scott has defected to the Liberal Democrats and will be joining us here at party conference.

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.”

I guess Liberal Democrats will be partying like it’s 1999 2000.

Update: here’s the full text of Edward’s resignation letter to David Cameron …

Dear David,

I am resigning today from my appeal against expulsion from the Conservative Party and from the Party itself to join the Liberal Democrats for three reasons:

    1 I have been around the higher circles of the Party long enough, most recently serving on both the Euro-election and General Election strategy committees at CCHQ, to know that Euro-scepticism is in the hearts of most Conservatives. Your decision to split from the mainstream EPP and create the new ECR group has been universally condemned, even by right-wing commentators such as The Economist as a “shoddy, shaming alliance” . You say you will not ‘bang on about Europe’ and your spokesman make warm noises. But I fear that on Europe you say one thing in opposition and will do another in government.

    2 You continue to refuse to accept that Michal Kaminski, who now leads the ECR and against whom I stood and won re-election as Vice-President of the European Parliament last July, has had ‘anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist links’. You say that you are against extremism at home , yet you propitiate it abroad.

    3 My family, friends and those who work with me will all confirm that I have sought in good faith an amicable resolution of my dispute at all levels in the Party. I have written to you on several occasions without a reply and have pursued the appeal process to which you submitted me in the diminishing expectation of fairness. I have stated my case modestly in the media. Last weekend your lawyers made clear that the appeal would continue to be rigged by you, despite your public pretensions to decency and fairness. As my friend Henry Porter put it in the Observer, your response has been ‘thuggish and panicky’ . You say one thing in public and do another in private.

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, but you are committed to power for its own sake.

Yours sincerely,

Edward McMillan-Scott MEP
Vice President of the European Parliament
Responsible for Democracy and Human Rights

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28 Comments

  • Irfan Ahmed 12th Mar '10 - 3:45pm

    Makes up for Saj Karim!!!

  • Andrew Tennant 12th Mar '10 - 4:10pm

    Let us hope that come the next European elections we get at least two seats from the vote in Yorkshire and Humber!
    It would be a great shame if this was to impact Diana Wallis who holds our existing seat. It will be interesting to see whether McMillan-Scott carried his own personal vote or whether the votes will stay with his former party.

    David Cameron does seem intent on weakening his party in Europe; losing a former leader at that level seems a heavy price for his red meat gesture to the Tory right wing of leaving the EPP.

    PS, at the conference and want to say hello. Where’s the broom cupboard?

  • “But that doesn’t sound as sensational does it?”

    If only you could add Conservative skeptic to euro skeptic and climate change skeptic.

  • He should stand down as he was elected as a Tory (but he is welcome of course)

  • Antony Hook Antony Hook 12th Mar '10 - 9:42pm

    The Lib Dem European Group fringe, organised with Project 3, is at 8pm Saturday, ICC Hall 5.

  • Peter Chegwyn 12th Mar '10 - 10:00pm

    I wonder if the Steve Green who posted a rather snide comment above is the same Steve Green who is standing for the Conservative Party in the Gosport Council elections this May… a man who spends his entire life infiltrating other people’s websites? Surely not!

    On the subject of the defection, it’s good news. Edward MacMillan-Scott has been around a long time and his change of colours shows again how Cameron’s Conservatives are losing some of their longest-standing members who don’t share the near-UKIP hostility towards Europe of many on the Tory right.

  • Peter Chegwyn 13th Mar '10 - 8:46pm

    Yep! I was right. Steve Green has confirmed he is indeed the Conservative Steve Green from Gosport. Nice to know he has nothing better to do than try to infiltrate Liberal Democrat boards without revealing his membership of the nasty party! They never learn!

  • Peter Chegwyn 13th Mar '10 - 9:05pm

    Yawn. Now you’re getting boring. Kindly desist. I’ve got better things to do than read Conservative blogs.

  • Peter Chegwyn 13th Mar '10 - 9:44pm

    Yawn (again). If the Conservative Party is full of people like Steve Green it helps explain why their poll rating is down again in two polls tomorrow.

  • Peter Chegwyn 14th Mar '10 - 9:21am

    Steve Green: “It would be nice to have a good, clean and friendly election campaign.”

    Agreed. The Liberal Democrats always conduct “good, clean and friendly election campaigns” in Gosport.

    Sadly the Conservatives do not.

    Which is probably why a High Court Judge recently described Conservative leaflets issued against me in Gosport as “entirely untrue” and “defamatory”.

    Now why don’t we just end this personal exchange on a public messageboard and get back to campaigning.

    It’s a lovely sunny day. I’m off delivering my latest “good, clean and friendly” Focus!

  • Peter Chegwyn 14th Mar '10 - 9:24am

    P.S. As this debate was originally about a Conservative MEP defecting to the Lib. Dems. you could always do the same Steve?

    Then we really could be friends!

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