IDS has a letter in today’s Times supporting David Cameron on the EPP. The former Tory leader writes:
"David Cameron won a strong mandate with the clear aim to break with the EPP. He should be allowed to get on with it. The same voices tell us to lead in Europe. I can think of no better way to start than creating a non-federalist centre-right grouping."
Mr Duncan Smith’s argument was boosted with a suggestion that Czech centre-right MEPs might also quit the EPP if Tories show the way.
Mr Duncan Smith’s intervention will be of mixed value to David Cameron, however. He probably wishes the issue would go away. Today was the third day in a row that quitting the EPP was discussed by John Humphrys et al on the Today programme. Ken Clarke, of course, intervened at the weekend. Douglas Hurd yesterday. Caroline Jackson MEP is complaining in an op-ed piece in The Times today. The decision of Messrs Cameron and Hague to hold months-long consultation on this issue may only cause the debate’s protagonists to dig themselves ever deeper into their trenches.
Mr Cameron has certainly acted decisively on candidates. If his leadership campaign’s promise on EPP is subject to consultation there is no such consultation on the candidates’ A-list (which featured less prominently in his campaign). MEPs get consultation. Marginal seats get an A-list. The differing approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. The imposition of the A-list hasn’t stopped Simon Heffer and Matthew d’Ancona debating the idea’s merits on the pages of today’s Telegraph. A quick decision on the EPP might have meant David Cameron would not have enjoyed a victory honeymoon. These are difficult tactical decisions but there is no doubt that consultation has been chosen on the question of the EPP and imposition in the case of the A-list.