Saturday, 18 April 2009

Press Association: Tories 'feel let down over Europe'

Tories 'feel let down over Europe'

A betting tycoon expelled by the Conservatives for endorsing the UK Independence Party [UKIP] claims to have been told that "80%" of Tory MPs now support his Eurosceptic stance.

Speaking at a UKIP rally in Exeter, Stuart Wheeler said many Tories were in the same "awkward position" as him - "Conservative at heart but feeling let down over Europe".

The millionaire, who sparked controversy when he donated £100,000 to UKIP, said the return of pro-European Ken Clarke was the "straw that broke the camel's back."

He also attacked shadow foreign secretary William Hague, claiming he was not taking a firm enough line on the question of a referendum on the Lisbon treaty.

Wheeler, who once gave a record £5 million donation to the Conservatives, argued it was only the leadership who were being "timid" on cutting back European influence.

A back bench Tory MP had recently "begged" him to continue his campaign assuring him that "80%" of MPs shared his desire to cut back EU influence.

He told a UKIP audience at Exeter University: "William Hague indicates that the Conservatives are likely to attempt to scrap the Treaty - possibly by calling a retrospective referendum.

"The Tories want to sound tough without making the slightest commitment. The leadership is terrified that a tough stance will split the party. But who will be on the Europhile side of the split?

"Just two big beasts, Clarke and Heseltine, and one or two smaller beasts."
It's not much of an awkward position if we're really honest about it - 99% of UKIP membership are conservative (with a small "c") at heart and feel let down on Europe. That's why they support the only mainstream party that pledges to withdraw us from the European Empire. Anyone who continues to support the LibLabCon coalition with their joint commitment to ever closer union is a fool.