Today I get this from Mike Nattrasss, UKIP's MEP for the West MIdlands,
KIP is gaining members because of Ken Clarke's return to the Tory front bench. "Clarke's views on Europe are so out of line with the bulk of the Tory Party membership that they simply cannot stand being in the same party any more." said Nigel Farage, UKIP leader.
Mike Nattrass, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands said "Only UKIP is firmly committed to leaving the EU so that we can be free and independent once again." "Tory MEPs consistently transfer power to the EU and that Tory policy is confirmed by Clark's return."
The first defector in the West Midlands is Denis Allen. A former Mayor of Wellington, a town councillor in Wellington, a councillor on Telford and Wrekin Unitary Authority and former cabinet member there. Denis has also been the Chairman of the Wrekin Conservative Association. After service as an officer in the RAF Regiment Mr. Allen went on to become a Lt. Colonel in the Light Infantry TA.
"I was already uncomfortable with the way that David Cameron fudged the issue of the Conservative membership of the EPP group in the European Parliament. But the appointment of such a strong europhile like Ken Clarke to the front bench was the last straw. We can see that we can't negotiate from within: they ignored the Dutch and the French referendums and they're ignoring the Irish now. We have to leave so that we can rule ourselves." said Denis Allen. "That's why I joined UKIP, the only party advocating that Britain should be ruled by the British."
Mike Nattrass added " Tory MEPs put their Group allowances into the "Yes" campaign and that says it all."
And some Ken Clarke quotations
During the 2003 leadership Campaign,
"I have to decide whether a parliamentary party that has just fought a fanatic Eurosceptic campaign and been defeated is yet really capable of being led by a pro-European.
On leadership of the Tories
"I would have liked to be the leader of the Conservative Party and I still would. But I've run twice and I can't see another opportunity coming up in the future."
On Tory EU Scepticism
"Yes, well the party is Eurosceptic but I am glad to say it has become moderate Euroscepticism now, we no longer have the extreme right wing nationalism that we went into before the last two elections but it is still a Eurosceptic party and I’m not a Eurosceptic."
On Tax Cuts
“David and George have made us look like a potentially governing party again but the message has not quite spread to some of my colleagues. These are the people who think you've got to promise tax cuts to win any election. We've fought elections on tax cuts when you can't afford them and usually we've lost - we did actually win one in 1992, which was a considerable embarrassment to me when I was Chancellor because there wasn't the slightest chance of any tax cuts.”
On the EU Constitution
"This is a complicated area and I do not regard the EU Constitution as a completely suitable subject for a referendum"
"I disapprove of a referendum. I do think it is a serious blow to the sovereignty of Parliament. MPs are elected to give line-by-line detailed scrutiny to documents of this kind."
"[holding a referendum] is appalling and irresponsible. Rupert Murdoch will decide what Britain should think and what Britain should be told."