Team Cameron’s media management of the ‘EPP deal’ was very impressive – as ConservativeHome noted at the time. MPs David Heathcoat Amory and Philip Davies made their anger clear but the Cornerstone Group and other Eurosceptics were notably quiet. Roger Helmer MEP pulls no punches today, however, in an article for the latest edition of the Freedom Association’s magazine.
Mr Cameron, he writes, has not fulfilled his promise to leave the EPP – he has "betrayed" it. Mr Helmer says that David Cameron broke clear promises to take Tory MEPs out of the EPP "during his honeymoon period" – "it would be a first week task".
Mr Helmer’s account of Mr Cameron’s promise will be dismissed by some as he has had the Tory whip withdrawn from him (the reasons for this are disputed but he mounted attacks on alleged corruption in the European Parliament using procedural devices that the EPP disapprove of). Nevertheless, two other prominent Eurosceptic MEPs have corroborated Mr Helmer’s account in private briefings to ConservativeHome. They remember Mr Cameron promising to take Tory MEPs out of the EPP at the same time as he announced the A-list.
Helmer fears that Mr Cameron’s "indefensible, humiliating and wrong" decision will cause some defections to UKIP. It is understood that UKIP, which is in the middle of its own leadership contest, have offered Mr Helmer leadership of its grouping of MEPs but he has declined.
Download a pdf of Mr Helmer’s article and visit the campaign to restore him to the full membership of the Tory group of MEPs here.