Wednesday 4 November 2009

Dan Hannan MEP resigns Tory frontbench role

"I have returned to the back benches in order to concentrate on building such a movement", writes Daniel Hannan MEP on his Telegraph blog, calling for referendums and direct democracy, on the need to get out of the EU and much else.

This Conservative is for a referendum: a proper, deep-cleansing referendum that will settle whether our country remains subordinate, or becomes self-governing. Now who will stand on either hand and keep the bridge with me?

Douglas Carswell MP is of a similar mind.

But David Cameron's team will be relieved at the reaction from other Eurosceptics - who believe he has sold out their cause, but do not wish to rock the boat.

Both Tim Montgomerie of ConservativeHome and Fraser Nelson of The Spectator are pretty dismissive of a policy that both think will change little or nothing substantive about Britain's relationship with the EU.

Nelson writes that "What the new Tory package amounts to is a promise to ask the EU very nicely if it will consider handing back a few powers over employment and justice".

Both Nelson and Montgomerie hint at or predict trouble in several years time, but are not taking to the hills now.

This may well make Hopi Sen's point.

Hannan is doubtless very disappointed too, having campaigned strongly for David Cameron for leader, though he did get what he considers the "revolutionary" departure from the European People's Party for that.

(People often forget that Hannan, a year ago, was rooting for Barack Obama to defeat John McCain, seeing the Republican's backing for the European People's Party as the decisive issue of who to prefer in the US Presidential election too).

And Hannan's disappointment will be greater because he was quite recently going against the conventional wisdom on Lisbon, telling his blog readers in early September that "I am increasingly confident that Britain will get its referendum. I’m not in a position to explain why at this stage, but our hand is stronger than is generally supposed. I know this won’t do for some of my readers, but I’m afraid that, for now, you’ll just have to take my word for it".


Jessica Asato said...

So I wonder whether the Tory hierarchy can tell us why they were so very keen to invite Hannan to be on stage at their Spring Conference earlier this year?

scottspeig said...

@Jessica - Because he has strong support from grassroot Tories

Anonymous said...

I'm only glad he didn't leave the party, the Tories would not be Tories if they didn't support the Eurpean far right (not just the obvious ECR allies, Hannan picked his own far right allies in europe all for himself [])