ECR: Three Tory leadership hopefuls set out their stalls
New Europe - 21 November 2010
The British Conservatives will be meeting in Strasbourg on 23 November, to choose a new leadership after Timothy Kirkhope resigned. There are a range of positions up for grabs. In a display of unity, Syed Kamall was elected unopposed as Treasurer.
There are two candidates for Deputy Leader, Giles Chichester and Jaqui Foster together with three for the Leadership; Richard Ashworth, Martin Callanan and Charles Tannock.
The website, Conservative Home, gave each a chance to make their case. Their arguments make interesting reading. Callanan sets out a more eurosceptic agenda than the others. All stress becoming more united and they look to increase the ECR, but how?
On relations between Brussels and London
“Responsibility for defining all the major decisions on Europe rests with the political parties and their leadership in London, not with MEPs in Brussels. It should be clear that the role of MEPs is to promote and represent the policies of the party in the committees, where the real work is done, and in the parliament of the European Union.”
“I will ensure that we lend our solid, but not slavish, support to the Conservative led Government in Westminster.”
“In fact, asserting the independence and protecting the interests of MEPs is central to my approach to the leadership. Of course, we should never forget our unity of purpose. But for too long now Conservative MEPs have allowed themselves to be sidelined and taken for granted. I want us to be taken more seriously and I will strive to give our delegation a stronger voice within the party and the coalition government. “
On the Party and the EU
“The United Kingdom has been a strong force for beneficial change in Europe in the past. There has rarely been greater need for that change before now”
“I have always believed that Britain’s interests are best served by being within the EU but I am now, more than ever, convinced that we need to take strong steps to stop the relentless slide towards political integration.”
“I have always backed our party’s policy of Britain engaging constructively as a leading member of the EU.”
On the future of the ECR Group…
“I believe, with the coalition government in office in London, the Conservative party can, again, be a major source of inspiration and leadership but only if we work together.”
“The Leader has an important role in holding the delegation together and steering a united path… I would look to expand the ECR Group further to ensure that a strong, authentic Conservative voice is heard throughout the European Parliament.”
“Our delegation can become a much stronger, united and more cohesive political force under my leadership. I relish the opportunity to take the delegation in a new direction…. We need more MEPs from more countries to make the ECR a stronger platform for a Conservative agenda, otherwise it could easily fade into irrelevance. The process of enlarging the ECR needs to be led from Brussels.”
The ECR Group have asked us to make clear that Mr Kaminski is a member of the ECR group as an individual and his membership of the ECR is not dependant on his membership of any political party