It’s a sad outcome of the European election that today sees Martin Callanan’s final column as the leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group – a group he helped to found as part of the Conservative Party’s long-overdue departure from the EPP.

Such is politics – sometimes good work is not rewarded due to wider circumstances beyond the individual candidate’s control.

His reflections on the innate Conservatism of the North East (a view we share), the achievements of his colleagues and the growing power of Brussels, though, further support this site’s position that he ought to be nominated by David Cameron to be the UK’s new EU commissioner. Diplomatically, he hasn’t ruled it out.

As Paul wrote earlier in the week, the right person for the job is someone outside the Prime Minister’s personal circle, someone in touch with the euroscepticism of the grassroots and someone who understands how Brussels, the modern-day Byzantium, works.

The next Commissioner will not only wield powers on behalf of the EU, they will be a crucial aid (or block) to the Prime Minister’s renegotiation strategy – and their selection will send a message of one sort or another to the wider Conservative Party.

Given all that, it’s unhelpful that the process is still so opaque – the Daily Mail‘s James Chapman was told that Callanan is “not a runner“, but no-one has been told why. Silence will only lead to speculation of a stitch-up. If there’s a good reason, let us have it.