McMillan-Scott's defection: the background

Former Tory MEP Edward McMillan-Scott has defected to the Lib Dems. Read his scathing attack on Came

Update: The British MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, who had already lost the Conservative whip, has today left the Tory party and defected to the Liberal Democrats. This leaked attack on David Cameron revealed his growing anger with the party leadership.

David Cameron and Conservative Party headquarters are the subjects of a stinging attack today. They stand accused of blocking an inquiry into the expulsion of a former Conservative MEP who was kicked out of the party for opposing Cameron's decision to withdraw from mainstream politics in Europe, Newstatesman.com has learned.

In a furious letter sent to Conservative MPs in Westminster, and leaked to the New Statesman, Edward McMillan-Scott describes the decision to allow Michal Kaminski to become leader of the new group in the European Parliament to which the Conservatives have signed up as "disastrous". And he argues that his own expulsion for opposing the move was designed "to divert attention from political misjudgements".

He also seeks to demonstrate the damage done by the Kaminski affair by highlighting the contemporary version of Molière's playThe Misanthrope, now running in the West End and starring Keira Knightley, in which there is a reference to Cameron's "grubby fascist friend" in Europe.

The MEP tells MPs that his "numerous attempts" to seek an "amicable solution" have been "systematically blocked by CCHQ".

And he calls for an inquiry, writing: "I now urge the parliamentary party to appoint an experienced MP -- perhaps a member of the 1922 Executive -- to conduct an inquiry and resolve this quickly."

Perhaps most controversially, McMillan-Scott accuses the Tory high command of launching a "smear campaign" against him. In a footnote to the letter entitled "Ten Killer Points", he makes a series of extraordinary claims, including:

● His "UK staff were told to stop working for me by Party officials . . . my conference pass was revoked, a fringe meeting cancelled", and that "throughout all this, CCHQ has flagrantly ignored the Party's constitution, its principles -- and its reputation".

● "A smear campaign was launched against me, starting with a specious letter which William Hague sent to key Conservatives in my constituency and also issued to the media although he knew that, for legal reasons, I could not reply. Six Conservative Press Officers vilified me to constituency media and the nationals while defending Kaminski."

● "On September 15, without notice or reason, I was expelled from the Party after an email exchange between Board members. They did not meet. This decision is subject to a prolonged internal CCHQ appeal procedure in which my lawyers and I have little faith (I was on the Board for three years) and, as a result, may lead to court action."

Finally, 60-year-old McMillan-Scott claims that the Tory party has sought to "terminate my parliamentary career" as well as his "livelihood", despite "25 years as an MEP, four years as leader of the MEPs, three years on the Board and 43 years as a Party member".

The full letter sent to Conservative MPs is published below.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: MCMILLAN-SCOTT Edward
Sent: 08 February 2010 15:40
To: ---------
Subject: MY EXPULSION FROM THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY

 

EDWARD McMILLAN-SCOTT

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT VICE-PRESIDENT

Yorkshire & Humber, UK

 

8 February 2010

 

Dear Westminster parliamentary colleague,

 

MY EXPULSION FROM THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY

I am writing to many Conservative MPs (and I am sorry this is not personalised) about the Party's treatment of a parliamentarian. Despite my restraint with the media, there is a risk of it becoming an issue in the General Election. The reputational damage to the Party is already considerable: Keira Knightley's contemporary West End Misanthrope opens with a speech about David Cameron's "grubby fascist friend". The Party is more important than any individual, but principles trump the Party and I will not let matters rest.

 

Whatever view you take about David Cameron's pledge to leave the EPP it has been panned by every commentator, and the choice of EU allies has been controversial. Putting the Polish MEP Michal Kaminski up for Vice-President was a disastrous choice and would have led to a furore, whether or not I stood against him. Expelling me from the Party until after the next European Election has been a CCHQ own goal and it is time it was corrected -- by politicians.

 

David Cameron may well be unaware of what has been taking place but my numerous attempts to achieve an amicable solution are being systematically blocked by CCHQ.

 

I now urge the parliamentary party to appoint an experienced MP -- perhaps a member of the 1922 Executive -- to conduct an inquiry and resolve this quickly. 10 Killer Points are below my signature and are expanded in Timeline and Kaminski Uncovered, attached.

 

The whip was withdrawn from me by Timothy Kirkhope to divert attention from political misjudgements.

 

However my expulsion from the Party is of another order and must not be allowed to stand.

 

You can take me out of the Conservative Party, but you cannot take the Conservative out of me. Please let me know if you wish to help or want more information. My private email is ------ and my mobile number is ------.

 

Yours,

 

P.S. Correspondence and emails I have received are overwhelmingly supportive.

 

10 Killer Points: Edward McMillan-Scott MEP's expulsion from the Conservative Party

 

1. I complied with the manifesto, leaving the EPP and joining the new ECR group. I said that I was "uncomfortable" because of moral, constitutional and extremist issues. I stood against a Polish MEP, Michal Kaminski, and was re-elected Vice-President of the European Parliament with strong cross-party support and NGO support (see http://www.edwardforvp.eu/) on 14 July -- see attached Timeline. This was done on a point of principle because Kaminski had recent and easily-discovered "anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist links" -- for some details see attached Kaminski Uncovered.

 

2. Kaminski and his party represent the rise of disguised extremism in Europe. My longstanding concern and action about extremism stems from a family secret since 1940, revealed on BBC Radio 4's Mother Was a Blackshirt only in January by my aunt, Diana Bailey, that my maternal grandparents were interned by Churchill as senior Blackshirts (please ask for a transcript).

 

3. Kaminski was not an official Conservative candidate. He was nominated by Timothy Kirkhope, Tory MEP leader, as part of a stitch-up to promote Kirkhope as leader of the new group without election. The Tory MEPs' rules of procedure for nominations for EP parliamentary posts were ignored. I stood as an independent. Another Conservative stood independently the next day for another parliamentary post ("Quaestor" = Ways & Means) but no action was taken. Only I lost the whip.

 

4. My Brussels assistants and I were "sent to Coventry" (this was ignored by Tory MEPs and staff); my UK staff were told to stop working for me by Party officials (they refused); all material carrying my name was to be expunged from constituency offices, invitations to Party functions withdrawn; my conference pass was revoked, a fringe meeting cancelled, among other petty actions. Throughout all this, CCHQ has flagrantly ignored the Party's constitution, its principles -- and its reputation.

 

5. A smear campaign was launched against me, starting with a specious letter which William Hague sent to key Conservatives in my constituency and also issued to the media although he knew that, for legal reasons, I could not reply. Six Conservative Press Officers vilified me to constituency media and the nationals while defending Kaminski. This perverse CCHQ strategy has created an issue on which, I am told, Gordon Brown has achieved electoral "cut-through" on our weakest topic -- Europe.

 

6. On September 15, without notice or reason, I was expelled from the Party after an email exchange between Board members. They did not meet. This decision is subject to a prolonged internal CCHQ appeal procedure in which my lawyers and I have little faith (I was on the Board for three years) and, as a result, may lead to court action.

 

7. My UK lawyers, the best in their field, say that my expulsion was against natural justice, disproportionate and unconstitutional: they look forward to the High Court.

 

8. The "blind pledge" (signed by all Tory Euro-candidates that they would join whatever EU grouping Cameron devised) is illegal under EU law and my treatment by the Party is contrary to the EU's "Race Directive" (and the Race Relations Act).

 

9. The Party appears to seek to terminate my parliamentary career (I am 60) -- as well as my livelihood -- despite 25 years as an MEP, 4 years as leader of the MEPs, 3 years on the Board and 43 years as a Party member. I have a reputation for tenacity.

 

10. The only other parliamentarians to have been expelled from the Party were Den Dover for two years, after allegedly misusing his MEP expenses; and Lord Archer for five years, after imprisonment for perjury in the High Court. Who is CCHQ kidding? http://www.emcmillanscott.com/

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.