Tories lose senior MEP over new right-wing Euro grouping

by Stephen Tall on July 14, 2009

Three weeks after the Tories tried to sneak out the announcement that they had formed a new right-wing European parliamentary grouping made up of some of Europe’s more, erm, eccentric and extreme characters comes news of the first Tory casualty – ConservativeHome’s Tim Montgomerie tweets:

Edward Macmillan-Scott MEP expelled from Cons Party for disobeying instructions from new EP grouping on elections for VP of Parliament

The news doesn’t come as a complete shock – on 25 June, Mr McMillan-Scott voiced “real concerns” about the Tories’ new Euro friends, commenting:

Despite what David Cameron has said there are already indications that some of the members have links with extremist groups and I feel very, very uncomfortable with that. I know the party has made inquiries but I will make my own investigations into the background of these people.”

On his own website, the lead news story (currently) notes just one of the obvious pitfalls of the Tories’ new grouping:

McMillan-Scott said he is an “internationalist, pro-European Catholic” but worried that if the only coherence of the group was opposition to federalism – over which MEPs had no powers – it would divide on moral questions where they did, like genetics, embryology and sexual politics.

But – expected or not – Mr McMillan-Scott’s explusion is a blow to the Tories, for he was a senior and experienced member of their group: an MEP for 25 years, he led the European Tories between 1997 and 2001, and has been a Vice-President of the European Parliament since 2004.