David Cameron’s Conservatives have done it – just… Splitting from the EPP was always a gamble – but with the near-certain collapse of the Independence/Democracy group (headed up by UKIP leader Nigel Farage) after a poor election showing from some of its constituent parties (Ind/Dem MEPs were wiped out in Poland, for example), Cameron may just have landed on his feet.
The membership of the new group is as follows – with individual MEPs most certainly worth investigating further:
The 55 MEPs at the moment are (according to Conservative Home):
* 26 British Conservative MEPs
* 15 Polish MEPs from the Law and Justice Party
* 9 Czech MEPs from the Civic Democratic Party
* 1 MEP from Belgium’s Lijst Dedecker – Derk Jan Eppink, a Dutchman who is a former senior European Commission official
* 1 MEP from Finland’s Centre Party, Keskusta – Hannu Takkula (who has left the Liberal Group where the rest of his party sits)
* 1 MEP from the Hungarian Democratic Forum – Lajos Bokros, a former finance minister
* 1 MEP from the Latvian National Independence Movement – Roberts Zile, a former finance and transport minister
* 1 MEP from the Dutch Christian Union – Peter van Dalen
Yep – that’s five individual MEPs that the new group has to keep sweet in order to maintain the requirement for all groups to have members from at least seven member states. They can afford to lose one, and that’s it. Any more and their new group is kaput.
More on this, no doubt, to come…