The leader of the Tory Group in Brussels really is a twit. Timothy Kirkhope – he of the wannabe stately home fetish – used last week’s Tory conference to show off his paranoia. Readers of this blog may remember the ridiculous carry on in the Conservative delegation of the European parliament. If so you can go straight to the paragraph after next.
The basic story is that Roger Helmer and a number of his more eurosceptic Tory colleagues supported a motion of censure on the Commission President which called for greater transparency. Because this motion had been sponsored by UKIP they were bullied, but to their credit kept their signatures on the motion. During the debate Helmer attacked the blatant bullying of his own leader Kirkhope and Hans-Gert Poettering the leader of the Centre Right EPP grouping to which the Tories are aligned. For this lese majesty he was thrown out of the group on the spot and now sits as an independent Conservative. This situation has lasted for months and every day the leadership’s authority drip drips away. (The chief whip, the appalling but irrelevant Philip Bradbourne had written a letter accusing them of supporting terrorism) The great crime was the UKIP link.
The week before last was supposed to the final push Helmer was summoned to a disciplinary meeting in Strasbourg where everybody expected him to be thrown out of the Tory party officially. Of course this didn’t happen as there is leadership race going on – so he was told that he was to receive his verdict after conference. All this is in the public domain.
It appears that at first Kirkhope attempted to have Helmer banned from the conference, but as Helmer is probably one of the more popular MEPs at least for the party membership, and seeing as Kirkhope hadn’t had the balls to throw him out he couldn’t do this. Kirkhope was to make a speech on the Wednesday afternoon, so, remembering what had happened the week before in Brighton, and warmed by the sight of police heavy handedness, (“I was a Home Office Minister you know”) he phoned Blackpools’ finest, to warn them that he expected that there might be serious trouble in the Conference Centre.
Special Branch then phoned the conference organisers who were ignorant of any threat. They asked the police where the information had come from? On being told the source was Kirkhope, they, no doubt stifling a guffaw, informed the police not to worry and that “They had things in hand”. Kirkhope in a fit of increasing paranoia and panic proceded to bring his keynote address forward by two hours.
The reason for all of this, Helmer’s supporters – and there are many – had been wandering around the conference wearing “Reinstate Roger” button badges.
As an aside, one delegate from the East Midlands (Helmer’s constituency) went to the MEP stall at the conference and asked about the situation. They were startled to be told be the scrote manning the stall, not to worry as, “Helmer’s going to join UKIP anyway, as is Chris Heaton-Harris for that matter”. This was news to both gentlemen, I am told that H-H at least was livid. The scrote is believed to work in the Whips office.