Chris Patten was on Andrew Marr’s Sunday programme this morning and used the opportunity to attack David Cameron’s EPP exit pledge. The former Party Chairman and EU foreign affairs commissioner said that the Tory leader was in danger of spending too much time listening to Eurosceptics like Bill Cash MP and Daniel Hannan MEP. He said the current Conservative leadership needed to make a choice for EU leaders like Angela Merkel and not Mr Hannan. "Yes, absolutely," responded Andrew Marr! EPP party leaders, including the German Chancellor, have threatened to turn their backs on David Cameron if he does form a new grouping of Conservative MEPs.
Later on the programme Mr Hague, Shadow Foreign Secretary, insisted that the Tory leader would take Conservative MEPs out of the EPP and that he would be making an announcement on "the how" later this month. He said that critics of the policy were exaggerated Tory intentions. Tory MEPs were not leaving the European Parliament altogether, he continued, but were simply forming a new grouping.
One of the biggest criticisms of the EPP escape plan is the suggestion that Tory MEPs will end up sitting with unsavoury right-wing parties in the European Parliament. In a powerful article on today’s Platform, Dr Lee Rotherham provides an overview of Tony Blair’s unsavoury allies in the Party of European Socialists.
Also on Sunday AM, Mr Hague distanced himself from Chris Patten’s suggestion that European nations should mount a more constructive engagement with Hamas. Tory MEP Charles Tannock has previously complained that Mr Patten’s policies as EU Commissioner helped to see the terrorists of Hamas come to power in the Palestinian Authority.