A story on FT.com tonight (subscription required) confirms ConservativeHome’s understanding that the Tories will leave the EPP. One senior member of the shadow cabinet tells the FT: "There is no question we’re going to go ahead with this. The commitment was made to the party at the end of last year in David’s leadership campaign. We believe we can form a new alliance.”
It is looking increasingly unlikely that that alliance will include the Czech Civic Democrats (ODS). "The ODS is locked in tense talks with potential partners to form a government," the FT reports, "and is highly unlikely to want to leave the EPP, given that its potential partners – the Greens and Christian Democrats – oppose such a move."
ConservativeHome has heard that Angela Merkel and other EPP leaders have subjected Mirek Topolánek and the ODS leadership to sustained pressure over recent days. The EPP fears that other parties will follow the ODS and Polish Law & Justice party into the new European parliamentary grouping if David Cameron succeeds in his plan to form a moderate, Eurosceptic alliance of MEPs. Given that David Cameron is unlikely to be UK Prime Minister for three or more years the ODS are being cajoled by the need to work with existing European leaders like Mrs Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy.