After some considerable dismay last week at the news that Conservative councillors have remained in the European People's Party Group the problem has been sorted out. The arrangement applied to Conservative councillors sitting on the European Union's Committee of the Regions was an anomaly given that Conservative Euro MPs had pulled out of the federalist EPP.
Now Cllr Gordon Keymer, the Conservative leader of Tandridge District Council and the Conservative delegation leader, has told the EPP that Conservative members will be working seperately from them in future. Instead they will be in the new Conservatives and Reformist Group, ECR.
Cllr Keymer says:
'We shall be working separately from the EPP CoR Group. In the new mandate Conservative members form the largest party in the UK CoR delegation. We shall continue to ensure that the interests of local government in the UK are strongly represented at EU level.' “
The Committee of the Regions has 344 members with 24 from the United Kingdom. Cllr Sir Simon Day, a Conservative councillor on Devon County Council is a member and tells the Local Government Chronicle:
Of course I would prefer to remain in the EPP but we have to accept that we do as we are told by the leadership.
Perhaps now we ought to give some attention to who the members are. They seem to be chosen by some Local Government Association stitch up. Allowances are paid. But how much? Conservatives seem greatly under represented and if our members wnated to stay in the EPP how much stomach for the fight have they really got in fighting additional EU regulation?