Further to the Tory European group train crash, Tory spinners are claiming that everything is fine... Yeah right.
I spoke to Kaminski this morning. He was a little embarrased by what had happened, but he pointed out that rather than behave so honourably Kirkhope had tried to salvage some pride by offering a joint Presidency. Kaminski turned this offer down, he felt that he had worked over the years for a Tory EP grouping (true) and the Poles had upheld their part of the bargin They had found themselves in the UEN group in 2004 because they had been promised that the Tories would leave the EPP-ED at that time and had been left high and dry with nowhere to go). To be offered a joint chairmanship was felt to be insulting.
He had his name put forward. In the Group meeting that followed a number of Tory MEPs then openly declared that they would support Kaminski's candidacy and Kirkhope did the maths, realised that he would lose the vote and stood down.
The fact is that at the present time the Tories are trusted by nobody in or out of the ECR group. They failed in their promise because they had no discipoline and they are left with nobody on the top table of the Parliament (the Bureau). Nobody in Strasbourg is pretending that this is anything but a disaster for the new group.
Then of course we have the problem within the delegation. The idea was Kirkhope would become ECR Chairman. This would lead to him standing down as delegation Chairman. Of course this would mean that Harbour or Van Orden would stand for delegation chairman. This can no longer happen as the position ante is still extant. Thus we now have thwarted ambition in the Tory delegation - always a fun ingredient to throw into any soup. There will now be an election for Tory delegation Chairman in November and noises off are telling me that it is expected to be one serious cat-fight. Fur will be flying and tickets will be sold for ringside seats.
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