Thursday, April 28, 2005

"Defrocked" peers speak up again

Our readers will, no doubt, remember the saga of the Conservative peers, who called publicly, together with some of their cross-bench colleagues, for a UKIP vote in the European elections last June.

At the time, we found ourselves wondering why the Conservative Party should be so stupid as to lose stalwart members like Lord Pearson of Rannoch or, especially, Lord Willoughby de Broke. We are still wondering about that. In fact, we are wondering about the Conservative Party’s attitude to and understanding of the House of Lords and its significance.

The peers themselves have remained logical, as a letter from two of them in today’s Daily Telegraph shows. We are reprinting the letter in full.

“Sir - We write as peers who lost the Conservative whip for suggesting that those who valued our sovereignty should have lent their vote to UKIP in the European elections last June.We find it surreal, when the House of Commons has become largely redundant because most new laws are made in Brussels, that "Europe" features so little in the election campaign. UKIP is the only party that is telling the British people the truth about this great matter; withdrawal from the EU is vital to our national survival.

Yet eventual withdrawal can happen only if it is sanctioned by a vote in the Commons, and that vote will be delivered only by a refreshed Conservative Party. There are therefore a number of marginal constituencies where those who wish to withdraw from the EU should not allow themselves the luxury of voting for UKIP if by doing so they deny a seat to a Conservative who will help to form a realistic policy of disengagement from Brussels.

It would be folly indeed if, in pursuit of withdrawal, such candidates were prevented from sitting in Parliament.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch, Lord Willoughby de Broke, London SW1”

The logic is unassailable, even if one cannot help wondering which particular potential ex-MP called for the peers' help.

Unfortunately, the practical aspect – a changed Conservative Party, as far as “Europe” is concerned – remains a very distant prospect.

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