Will the Conservatives pull out of the EPP?

Some have written in to praise, and some to express cynicism about the Conservatives announcement that they will be pulling out of the European People’s party.

To those who think they are saying this now because there is a European election coming up, I say, Yes of course. But this is not a cynical ploy. This no new policy, but a policy delayed by Conservative MEPs elected last time on a different platform who would not agree to pull out. They had after all told their electors something different.

This time all official Conservative candidates are standing on a platform of pulling out of the EPP, so we assume it will happen immediately after the European election. I voted for David Cameron as Leader partly because he made this promise. I believe he will keep it, at the first opportunity, which is immediately after the Election.


  1. Ian Jones
    March 13, 2009

    This should make those worried about jobs,homes and the economy feel so much better…..

  2. rugfish
    March 13, 2009

    Why on earth could they not have told people this Mr Redwood. Have you any idea how happy it makes me to read what you say?


    What does it mean:

    It means David Cameron is drawing a line in the sand which he and we will not cross of course, and that is NO to federalism. Some may think so what? – However, I thought about the implications a bit here and I see it also means that any other party not declaring NO to federalism, is by implication, giving their game away. i.e. They are standing FOR it if they do not stand against it with David Cameron.

    How does that look:

    Well to me it would look pretty complicated (FOR THEM), because THEY have all been telling people that it isn’t about federalism. No, no, no, of course it isn’t about that. “We don’t know what you mean”.

    However, how will they describe themselves if they are not specifically part of the Non-Federalist movement? – Tricky I think.

    Secondly, it put us on a collision course:

    The instant the EP and Commissars try anything which remotely smacks of federal government, then “we” will be jumping all over it and that will create a time of decision and explanation. Again, how will those who are not part of the new Anti-Federalist movement explain how a future is not federalist if for instance it is seeking to impose decision on members states through one of its competencies? – Difficulties are coming their way on this Lisbon Treaty in more ways than I think many would imagine, yet David Cameron and William Hague have played an ace card. They are FOR Europe. I think Lady Thatcher and Lord Tebbitt will be pleased with this position, as am I.

  3. John
    March 13, 2009

    It is important to note that the Conservatives cannot pull out of the EPP, because they are not members of the EPP.

    Jon Worth explains the whole thing quite well:


    Firstly, the Conservatives are part of the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, and they will leave this group. The Conservatives are part of the ED (European Democrats) adjunct to the group, meaning that where the EPP and Tory manifestoes diverged at the 2004 elections the Tories are not obliged to follow the complete group line; in practice the Tories vote with the EPP on 80-90% of legislation currently.

    The Conservatives are not part of the European People’s Party so they would not be bound by a common manifesto for the EP elections as agreed by the EPP party. So strictly speaking the Tories are leaving the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, not leaving the EPP. This may sound like a technicality but in Brussels it’s rather significant as the size of a group (not a party) determines the allocation of the important jobs in the European Parliament, and the degree to which the Tories are bound by EPP policies has been over-stated.

  4. wonderfulforhisage
    March 13, 2009

    I’m wondering if the Conservative Party will deselect any MEPs who are not prepared to follow the non federalist path?

    They have all signed up to the policy

  5. Robert Eve
    March 13, 2009

    This Europhobe is watching with some interest.

  6. Alan Healy
    March 13, 2009

    Thank you for the information , Mr. Redwood .

    I checked recently with the E.P.P.’s website , which does not include the Conservatives as a member party , and the Scottish Conservative website , which has Struan Stevenson as “Vice President of the ruling EPP-ED Group of 267 MEPs “.

    Interestingly the Wikipedia entry on the E.P.P. makes no reference to the Conservatives as a member party , while listing all the others .

    There is clearly a degree of abiguity surrounding this issue .
    It would seem that a full and open statement of party policy is required before the elections in June .

  7. The Ink Slinger
    March 13, 2009

    As we said yesterday, John, inspirational.

    However, as we also said yesterday on our own blog, should the Mr Cameron fail to deliver on this promise, which is absolutely fundamental to our integrity as a nation, we the electors have the nuclear option up our sleeves, namely to cast our vote for UKIP or Libertas, or even, God forbid, the BNP.

    But we think he is smart enough to know that, hence Messrs. Hague and François’ trip to Brussels.

    Please don’t let us down on this.

  8. Tim Roll-Pickering
    March 14, 2009

    Alan Healy – As the other John says above, the confusion is because there’s a difference between the EPP Europarty (which the Conservatives have never been a member of), the “EPP-ED” grouping in the European Parliament and the EPP “subgroup” within it. The Europarty is invisible in the UK and the distinction of the group and sub-group is overlooked.

    The Conservatives formally sat in an overall EPP grouping between 1992 and 1999 (little remembered now is that it was the EPP who were the more sceptical of the arrangement), then William Hague negotiated the arrangement of a nominal separate “European Democrats” sub-grouping with a formal joint grouping. MEPs who’ve called for the EPP ties to be broken have always dismissed the “-ED” bit as a figleaf of nomenclature for a discussion group.

    John R – one point that nobody seems to want to address in all this is the question of just which parties are willing and able to sit in this new “European Conservatives” grouping. The Czech Civic Democrats are all well and fine, but the Polish Law & Justice could make members uneasy if the spotlight was turned on it, and there’s still a need for about five more who can actually get members elected. Ireland’s Fianna Fáil has just announced it’s joining the European Liberals (despite not being a liberal party) precisely because of the embarrassment of some of its allies in the UEN group – and these seem to be precisely the most likely parties we’d end up with.

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