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New Tory European group risks being held to ransom

June 22nd, 2009 Posted in EU Politics by

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Cameron’s Tories have found a collection of people to sit with in the European Parliament, but will now be in a group that is smaller – and considerably more marginalised – than the ALDE group headed up by LibDem MEP Graham Watson.

There are two hurdles in forming a recognised group in the European Parliament – to have at least 25 MEPs and to have representation in seven member states. The first of these is simplicity for the Conservatives (they have 26 MEPs of their own), but they have limped over the second hurdle. Other than the Polish Law and Justice Party and the Czech Civic Democrats, the five other parties will be represented by only one MEP each –  from Belgium, the Netherlands, Latvia, Hungary and Finland. It would only require two of these MEPs to walk out for the Conservatives to  lose their group status.

Expect the small parties to use this leverage to maximum political effect – which will involve the various lone MEPs from the Latvian National Independence Movement, the Hungarian Democratic Forum, the Finnish Centre Party, the Dutch Christian Union and the Flemish Lijst Dedecker having their whims and fancies continually indulged by the British Tory block. The Conservatives may well find they have less room for maneouvre then they would have if they’d stayed in the EPP.

One Response to “New Tory European group risks being held to ransom”

  1. Niklas Smith Says:

    Worth pointing out that the Finnish Centre Party MEP is effectively rebelling against his party by joining the ECRG – the other two MEPs remain in ALDE. I wonder what the Conservatives offered him. Sir Peter Viggers’ duck house?