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Tory right circulates “swivel-eyed” Euro slate

Daniel Hannan, one of the recommended candidatesThose Labour party members among our readers should have received a ballot paper in past month or so to choose candidates for the European parliamentary elections next year. But Labour aren’t the only party running this process at the moment – the Tories too are balloting their members as to who should run.

And for all their talk of Labour’s warring factions in the past few weeks, they’re not exactly a united church themselves. Their hardline-Eurosceptic and Thatcherite division, Conservative Way Forward, has issued a slate of candidates to vote for in the Euro selections: a team which it describes as “solidly Eurosceptic and unabashedly patriotic”. You can’t say they don’t say it like it is. (Or can you?)

Like the Labour party, the Tories have two different kinds of ballots: one for within the sitting MEPs, who are automatically placed at the top of the list (it is unclear whether there is a process for de-selecting them if wanted, like Labour’s trigger-ballots), and one for the newbies.

Among the names on the list are, as expected, the hard-line right-winger Dan Hannan, who made headlines when he savaged the NHS as a “60-year mistake”.

The letter professes loyalty to David Cameron, but are these sorts just the sort he thinks he could really do without? The sort described by a Downing Street insider as “swivel-eyed loons”?

They don’t pass up the opportunity to take a cheap shot at Unite, saying “Unlike Unite, we haven’t cast your vote for you”, in a dangerous smear: there has not, to our knowledge, been any allegation of the trade union casting any vote on anyone’s behalf within the Falkirk debacle or elsewhere. Yet tellingly, the priority is not the best return for their party, but rather to “send the right Eurosceptic team to Brussels. One wonders if this team could include some from a certain other party. It wouldn’t be more than the Tories’ former cabinet ministers have suggested.

Here’s the full text of the letter:

Dear Friend,   

In the next few days, you will be receiving your ballot paper to vote in the selection of the Conservative Party’s candidates for the 2014 European elections.
After many years of campaigning, the Conservative Party has finally promised a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, with the Prime Minister leading support for the EU Referendum Bill which secured a decisive second reading vote earlier today.  
As the Conservative Party moves into this welcome new phase and the Prime Minister starts the process of seeking the repatriation of powers to Westminster, it’s important that we send a team of solidly Eurosceptic and unabashedly patriotic MEPs to the European Parliament next year to expose waste, crack down on fraud and back the Prime Minister’s efforts to return sovereignty to the House of Commons.
You will be able to cast two types of votes. Incumbent MEPs, assuming they have won the support of regional parties, are protected in the top positions on the list. In some regions, there will be no ballot where only one MEP is seeking re-election. You will then have a second ballot paper on which to mark your choices in the ‘open ballot’ of non-incumbents.

You must give preferences to all incumbent Conservative MEPs but you need cast only one vote in the non-incumbent ballot.  In order to ensure the strongest Eurosceptic slate next year, Conservative Way Forward recommends the following deserve your consideration (where there is more than one potential candidate we have listed them in alphabetical order):

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One Comment

  1. Reidy says:

    Apparently CWF are seen as a bit of a joke within the party and have a reputation for promoting their mates. The chap in charge has expressed some pretty horrific views in the past too.

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