ConservativeHome reports that arch-eurosceptic Tory MEP Roger Helmer has had the Conservative whip restored. Interestingly, he remains outside the EPP-ED – the EU federalist centre-right European party that the Conservatives are part of in the European Parliament.
David Cameron’s one solid pledge in his leadership campaign was to pull the Conservative group in the European Parliament out of the EPP, and his half-hearted implementation of the promise is controversial.
This latest move raises the intriguing possibility that the large number of other non-federalist Conservative MEPs may also now decide that they can opt out of EPP membership without sanction, thus weakening the European Right and exposing Tory divisions.
Hat-tip to Fair Deal Phil for breaking the extraordinary news that Helmer, having had the Tory whip restored, has promptly come out in favour of clubbing seal puppies to death. He wrote back to a young constituent telling her that her “sympathy for dumb animals” was “mawkish, sentimental and unhelpful”.
Whatever you think of the issue, this is hardly the compassionate, caring spin that David Cameron is desperate to put on his party. It’s hard to get much worse PR than being actively in favour of brutally slaughtering cute, adorable animals. Let’s hope that Helmer isn’t the next Tory to take a trip to the Arctic Circle.