Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hannan thrown out of EPP

Amongst comedy scenes in the European parliament just now, Dan Hannan was summarily ejected from the centre right European People's Party Group(EPP).

This makes him the second Tory MEP to be thrown out of the Group, the first being Roger Helmer.

What makes this more interesting is that he was thrown out for much the same reason. He had risen to speak in favour of a proposal of Nigel Farage leader of UKIP. Helmer was thrown out for doing the same thing a couple of years ago.

The precise details are a bit hazy, but as Hannan was speaking the monstrous Christopher Beazley (so called Tory MEP) slid over to Dan and berated him.

Then Joseph Daul the toad like Alsatian famer who leads the EPP stood yup, announced that he finally run out of patience with Mr Hannan, and despite not discussing it with his own colleagues told the chamber that Dan was no longer a member of the EPP. He even admitted that his action broke his group's rules, but he was personally so fed up with Dan that the rules no longer mattered.

Given that Dan was speaking against the granting of arbitrary rules to the President of Parliament (as he and I have blogged about before) there was a certain irony about the action.

I will go into detail about what happened a bit later.

There will be a discussion in the EPP before Hannan is formally thrown out. So not quite so arbitrary as the Helmer case.

The Socialists have put this out in an attempt to embarras Cameron.

A British Tory Euro MP today sparked outrage in the European Parliament by comparing its German President, Hans-Gert Pöttering, to Adolf Hitler.

Daniel Hannan now faces expulsion from the right-wing EPP-ED group after its leader, Joseph Daul of France, immediately disowned the remarks made during a voting session.

The German leader of the Socialist Group, Martin Schulz, praised Mr Daul and challenged British Conservative leader David Cameron over Mr Hannan's continued membership of the Tory party.

British Labour leader in the European Parliament Gary Titley said Hannan's remarks during Holocaust week dishonoured memories of the Nazi's victims.

The incident blew up during a vote to crack down on disruption of parliamentary business. Hannan linked a proposal on confirming the president's powers to end excessive use of procedural devices with the 1933 Enabling Act (Emächtigungsgesetz) that gave Hitler unlimited power.

Amid scenes of anger, Mr Daul took the floor to announce that he would seek the expulsion of Mr Hannan from his group.

Socialist spokesman on Constitutional Affairs, Richard Corbett, who drafted the proposal, said: "Dan Hannan's comparison of President Pöttering to Hitler was absolutely disgraceful and he is likely to be rightly expelled from the EPP as a result."
Mr Corbett rejected Hannan's protests as unfounded. "This is not about freedom of expression," he said, "simply about whether he and others have an absolute right to delay proceedings of the House if they choose to do so."

Said Mr Schulz: "Mr Hannan's remarks were a deep insult to Hans-Gert Pöttering and the whole European Parliament. Mr Daul's response shows that he is a very honest man.

"People like Hannan not only do not speak on behalf of the Conservatives in Europe, they have no base in the European Parliament. They are entirely isolated.

"The Conservatives in Great Britain and their leader David Cameron should reflect on whether such people, so close to the right-wing extremists, should be in their party."

Said Mr Titley: "By comparing the ruling of the President of the European Parliament with the law that gave unlimited power to Hilter in Holocaust week, Hannan is dishonouring memories of the victims of terror of the Nazi regime."

At no point did Hannan compare Bofferding to Hitler, he said that the arbitrary powers conferred on the president were similar to those in the enabling act. Indeed he specifically pointed out that those in the Chamber were from a tradition of democractic politics, not dictatorship and therefore he was suprised they did not see the dangers of their actions.

Dan has written about it here, and EUReferendum and Con Home have also covered it.


Anonymous said...

Discussion? ie. Consultation even though a decision has already been made, surely?

Gawain Towler said...

Chris, it appears that you may be right. According to Dan the decision was made a while ago, but his speech comparingthe acts to the enabling law was the oportunity they were after.

Tapestry said...

Hannan's a hero.

Potty and the Entirely Pointless Potplants are criminals to democracy and human rights. Hannan is a representative and yet he is not being allowed to do his job.

Cameron should act now to leave the Potplants, before they cause even more trouble.

Get the rest of the Tory MEPs out of there.

Anonymous said...

I agree with tapestry. How can any British political party associate itself with the EPP?

But then, it was a Tory MEP who stuck it to him, wasn't it? Shows how much free speech they believe in doesn't it?

The Tories need to sort out their approach. Are they democrats or not? If they are, then withdraw from the EPP, if not then standstill.

Anonymous said...

I might not agree with Dan Hannan's politics but at least he has the courage of his convictions. Farage could learn a lot from him.

Gawain Towler said...

Anon, seeing as how Hannan's speech was supporting a Farage demand for a postponement of the vote, I am not sure what you mean.
Can you explain?

Anonymous said...

BBC Radio 4 interviewed Daniel Hannan The description on the website reads A Conservative MEP faces expulsion from a group in the European Parliament for making a comparison to Nazi Germany.

The interviewer opened the Framing with ... comparing parliamentary manoeuvre ... with powers given to Hitler in 1933 ... Do you realise how offensive it is to compare a German ... to Germany in 1933?

Hannan replies ... a story disgracefully ignored by our broadcast media ...

However, the interviewer’s heart is not in it and let’s Daniel Hannan make his point clearly.

The smears applied to Hannan by others via the interviewer include “Hitler”, “Nazi”, “Far Right Extremist”, which of course is what he is implied to have smeared the EU Parliament speaker with. This contradiction was not noted by either of them. The interviewer states ... I have read your remarks ..., but neither of them quote them. With Hannan it is perhaps understandable as he is on the receiving end but for the interviewer I would hazard a guess that it was planned in advance.

Well worth a listen.