A strong showing by the Kilroy-Silk-powered UKIP at the 2004 Elections somewhat derailed Michael Howard. UKIP are a shadow of their former self but the Tories worry about a strong BNP performance. The BNP won a seat on the GLA during this year’s London elections.
It is the duty of the Conservatives to ensure that voters feel their concerns about European integration, immigration and crime are being heard by the mainstream – as well as highlighting other Conservative themes of free trade, concern for the environment and international justice. Our manifesto for those Elections must have policies in all of those key areas to minimise any swing to the extremes. A pledge to hold a referendum on Lisbon, a transparency agenda for MEPs’ expenses and the Tory plan for a Border Police Force must all feature in our campaign.
Some Tory MEPs favour term limits as a way of stopping their colleagues from ‘going native’. One MEP supports making a link between the UK’s budget contribution and improved auditing of the EU budget.
Rupert Matthews, one of our East Midlands MEP candidates, has already been leading a ConHome discussion of what could be included in our manifesto.
> Step 6/10: Conservatives need their own democracy agenda