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Defrocked peers by Lord Willoughby de Broke

Posted by Helen Tuesday, June 01, 2004

We are fortunate in being able to publish the first public statement by one of the Conservative peers who lost the whip a few days ago for signing an open letter, urging Conservatives to vote UKIP in the European election on June 10. Lord Willoughby de Broke explains what prompted him to put his name to the appeal.

As one of the recently de-frocked Conservative peers I believe that I ought to explain why I felt strongly enough to risk my membership of the Conservative party by putting my name to a letter urging my fellow-Conservatives to lend their vote to UKIP in the forthcoming EU elections.

All the EU treaties to which the UK has put its name have had one thing in common; they have taken away power from the elected Governments and Parliament of the this country and ceded it to the unelected Eurosalariat in Brussels and to the bloated, self-serving European Parliament. The Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty, the treaties of Amsterdam and Nice have gradually but inexorably reduced this country’s ability to govern itself according to the wishes of its people.

Not surprisingly the people noticed and started to ask questions, only to be told by their top political brass – of all parties - that there was nothing to worry about, everything was under control and the treaties did not really mean what they said – and anyway our destiny was at the heart of Europe.

Such manifest and patronising rubbish began to make the natives restless, but whenever those of us of a Eurorealist persuasion suggested to our party that they could reap an electoral benefit from a rather more robust line on Europe we were invariably told that “it would frighten the horses”.

Sadly that mindset is still in place; the Conservatives seem to be unable or unwilling to listen to what the polls tell them - that some 45% of voters want to leave the EU -and that is without any of the three main parties making that case. They also appear terrified of being demonised as ’Europhobe’ by Blair and the some of the grape-soft media.

Michael Howard’s “don’t frighten the horses” policy of ‘renegotiation’ does not stand up to serious scrutiny. Any amendment to the EU treaties has to be agreed unanimously; the idea of Spain for example giving up its EU acquired fishing rights in the North Sea because Michael Howard wants them back is quite absurd. Expecting to renegotiate the EU treaties on our terms is like going to MacDonald’s and ordering Lobster Thermidor; it would be nice to have it, but it is not on the menu.

So my intention in voting UKIP on June 10th and urging others to do the same is to help the Conservatives by sending them an unequivocal message that most voters in this country have had it with the EU and that they will give their vote at the next general election to the party that will take that message on board. So vote early, vote often –and vote UKIP.