So my comments yesterday about the troubles in the new Tory ECR Group were nothing on what really happened. All yesterday evening I was trying to get a steer on what was happening within their group following Edward MacMillan-Scot's auto-defenestration, and there were reams of silence. Unanswered texts, phones pointedly unpicked up, mubles and delays.
What was going on?
Well in brief this...
EMS's vainglorious independent candidacy for European Parliament Vice-Presidency was sucesful. This unpicked the deal which had been the foundation of the new Group, that is the Poles of the PiS get the VP job and the Tories get the leadership of the Group. EMS did this despite threats (now carried out) that he would lose the Tory whip.
This enraged the Poles, despite desperate attempts by Tory staffers who were spinning that EMS's candidacy was all about the Germans getting pissed of with Sylvana Koch-Mehlin's . The photogenic Sylvana is getting too much publicity they say, she is unimportant (being from the small free-trading, atlanticist Free Democrat Party) whilst far more important and visuallly chalenged German MEP's do not attract the press attention.
Anyhow this obviously didn't wash with the Poles who then had the temerity to gather together and nominate Mick Kaminski (the failed VP candidate) to stand against Timothy Kirkhope as Group leader.
Kaminski, a long time friend of the Tory Eurosceptics in Brussels collected the support of at least ten of the Tories and thus defeated Tory wet Kirkhope.
One grinning all over his face turned to me this morning and said,
"At least we have a Conservative as Group leader".
That is all very well, and I like Mick, but it means that the Tories having set up their group now have failed to pick up either of the posts that gives them acess to the Parliament's top table of the Bureau.
Mark Francois , (the shadow Europe Minister) may well have phoned Mick to offer his congratulations but the Tory high comand must be livid. Their plans have gone spectacularly awry. And it is only day one of the new Group.
Worse still, from what I hear, MacMillan-Scott is boasting that he is going to cause even more trouble by revealing more revalations about the PiS (homophobic stuff maybe).
How we all laughed last night as Robert Sturdy arrived to enjoy Bastille day drinks and pulled his finger across his throat with a grimace.
The picture illustrates Nigel Farage and Jan Zahradhil (ODS). Zarahdil is sitting in the seat that Mr Kirkhope thought had his name on it at the front of the chamber.