ConservativeHome.com has learnt that a group of well-funded Eurosceptic Tories are planning an orchestrated webroots campaign – that will be called The Campaign for Real Conservative Candidates – to unseat those MEPs who oppose David Cameron’s plans to leave the EPP.
There is fury amongst some grassroots members that Roger Helmer has been expelled from the Tory group in the European Parliament (for discussing financial sleaze within the EPP) whilst other MEPs are allowed to criticise the Westminster Tory leadership with impunity.
Particular anger is directed against Caroline Jackson MEP. Mrs Jackson has used an article in The Guardian to attack Mr Cameron’s EPP policy and the third item on this morning’s Radio 4 Today programme was her questioning of the "cosmetic" nature of the Tory leader’s environmental commitment. Another target is Christopher Beazley MEP who recently wrote a letter to The Times – with a LibDem and Labour MEP – advocating a much more positive attitude towards Europe.
The Eurosceptic webroots group, CRCC, is determined that no MEP candidate will "hoodwink" future selection meetings by "talking Eurosceptic but walking Europhile". Mrs Jackson and Mr Beazley are unlikely to seek readoption but the Campaign plans viral email campaigns against all those other MEPs who oppose David Cameron’s line on the EPP. The EPP issue will be over by the time of the next European Elections but the Campaign told ConservativeHome that the supporters of the EPP have revealed their "heartfelt colours" and they must be removed from the European Parliament.
Timothy Kirkhope, leader of the MEPs, is also likely to be a target of the Campaign. His failure to act against Mr Cameron’s critics and his hostility towards Roger Helmer could make his the biggest of the Campaign’s scalps.
The prospect of more bloodletting over Europe will cause despair in CCHQ.