Letter to The Times

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Aside from the convicing evidence about the level amount of influence the Conservatives would lose in the European Parliament if they were to cut their ties with the centre-right EPP group, the strongest argument for us remaining in the group is that a majority of our MEPs favour staying in.
Below, I include two letters that were sent to The Times by members of the delegation. Whilst those wisihing to pursue a sensible policy of active engagement with the EU and EPP have thirteen signatories, the isolationists who favour leaving the EPP manage a mere seven names.
Amongst those who have supported efforts to stay in the EPP include former Leaders Edward McMillan-Scott and Jonathan Evans and former Government Ministers John Bowis and Sir Robert Atkins.
I need not say much about the list of far-right MEPs who have signed the motion in favour of us leaving the EPP apart from point out that signatories include the far-right columnist Daniel Hannan and Roger Helmer who was sacked from the Conservative Party for his unacceptable views.
Sir - We profoundly disagree with the minority of our colleagues (Letters, October 1) who have always disliked our European Democrats (ED) group associating with the European People's Party (EPP) as the EPP/ED Group.
By working within this larger group, Conservative MEPs ensured the appointment of a centre-Right commission president who is slowly but surely driving EU reform. Within this group, we are leading a reshaping of the EU social policy agenda and driving completion of the single market. We are proud to be punching well above our weight, pursuing the manifesto commitments on which we were elected with vigour and without compromise.
We believe in seeking out where the real action is, rather than fleeing to the margins. We believe that, to be a credible alternative government, Conservatives need to work with EU centre-Right colleagues whose parties are already in government. We believe that, in the EU, just as in Britain, the Left is the main enemy - and that when the Right is divided, the Left prevails.
Richard Ashworth MEP, Sir Robert Atkins MEP, Christopher Beazley MEP, John Bowis MEP, Philip Bushill-Matthews MEP, Giles Chichester MEP, James Elles MEP, Jonathan Evans MEP, Malcolm Harbour MEP, Caroline Jackson MEP, Edward McMillan Scott MEP, John Purvis MEP, Struan Stevenson MEP, Brussels
Sir - We agree with your leading article (September 29) in welcoming Liam Fox's statement on Conservative MEPs' affiliation to the deeply federalist European People's Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament.
At a time when the electorate has less and less trust in politicians, for the Conservative Party to campaign strongly in Britain against European integration and then sign up to the most integrationist group in the parliament is deeply hypocritical. It is clear that our membership of the EPP cost us many votes in the last European elections.
There are mainstream Centre-Right parties in the Parliament that share our vision of a free-market, Atlanticist Europe of nation states. We should join with them and start challenging the prevailing orthodoxy of ever closer integration as espoused by the EPP, Socialists and Liberals in the Parliament.
We hope the other leadership candidates will emulate the sensible, pragmatic approach of Dr Fox and also, we understand, of David Cameron.
Martin Callanan MEP, Nirj Deva MEP, Daniel Hannan MEP, Chris Heaton-Harris MEP, Roger Helmer MEP, David Sumberg MEP, Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, Brussels

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Richard Ashworth (SE)
Sir Robert Atkins (NW)
Christopher Beazley (E)
Philip Bushill-Matthews (WM)
Giles Chichester (SW)
James Elles (SE)
Jonathan Evans (W)
Malcolm Harbour (WM)
Caroline Jackson (SW)
Timothy Kirkhope (Y)
Edward McMillan-Scott (Y)
John Purvis (S)
Struan Stevenson (S)

Those highlighted in blue have pledged
to maintain our influence in the EPP
and remain in the group despite
Eurosceptic orders from David Cameron


E-mail the below and  tell them you
wish the Party to remain fully engaged
with Europe inside the EPP-ED

Philip Bradbourn (WM)

Neil Parish (SW)

Robert Sturdy (E)


E-mail the below and  tell them you
wish the Party to remain fully engaged
with Europe inside the EPP-ED
Martin Callanan (NE)

Nirj Deva (SE)

Daniel Hannan (SE)

Chris Heaton-Harris (EM)

Roger Helmer (EM)

David Sumberg (NW)

Geoffrey Van Orden (E)


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