Saturday, 3 March 2012

Roger Helmer MEP defects to UKIP

Roger Helmer MEP has defected from the Conservative & European Unionist Party to UKIP.

Helmer had intended to resign at the end of 2011 but withdrew his resignation after the Tories tried to bump their preferred candidate above his rightful replacement.  He has always said that people elected under one party banner should remain under that banner or resign and in fact he said as much in October 2011 when he announced his intention to resign, saying he wouldn't be defecting.

However, in today's resignation letter he explains that he has waited long enough for the Tories to do the right thing and is now doing what he believes is right and join the only party that actually stands for what the Tories falsely claim stand for.

Helmer's resignation letter, courtesy of the Northampton Chronicle, reads as follows:
Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to let you know that after a great deal of thought, and much heart-searching, I have decided to leave the Conservative Party, and to join the United Kingdom Independence Party.

After decades with the Conservative Party, this has been a tough decision to take. I well understand that many of my friends and colleagues in the Party will greet the news with dismay, and I greatly regret that.

In recent months my increasingly tenuous relationship with the Party has been predicated primarily on people, not policies, and I cherish the hope that at least some of the good friendships I have made within the Party, both in the East Midlands and in Brussels, over my dozen years as an MEP, will survive my change of allegiance.

Peter Oborne has described UKIP as “The Conservative Party in exile”. He has a point. UKIP is closer than the Tory Party to the conservative principles and values that brought many of us into politics in the first place. It is right on Europe, right on climate and energy, and much closer to the views of most Conservatives on a range of issues including tax policy, immigration, “human rights”, foreign aid, University admissions and defence.

I have always argued that a parliamentarian who finds himself no longer able to support the Party should stand aside in favour of another Conservative, and I have roundly criticised former colleagues who failed to do so, like Bill Newton Dunn and Edward McMillan Scott. But in this case, as you will be aware, I sought in good faith to do the honourable thing, and to resign in favour of the next-in-line Conservative, Rupert Matthews. Indeed in October I announced my intention to resign at the end of 2011. But that plan was frustrated by the deliberate obstinacy and recalcitrance of the Party Chairman.

I wrote to Baroness Warsi in early January saying that I would not resign without a clear undertaking on the succession issue. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received. In these circumstances I believe that I have fulfilled my obligation to the Party, so far as I am able, and I therefore withdraw my offer to resign. I had made it clear to Baroness Warsi that I would not allow the stand-off to continue indefinitely, so I will now plan to fulfil my current term until 2014.

By seeking to do what I took to be the decent thing, and offering to stand aside in favour of another Conservative, I hope at least that I shall retain the respect of Party members in the region. They have selected and reselected me three times over the years, and I know that for the most part their views are closer to my own than to those of the Party leadership.

I will continue to work for a free, independent, sovereign and democratic Britain, trading and cooperating with our neighbours but governed from Westminster, not Brussels. Roll on Independence Day.
You dear much from that David Campbell Bannerman chap nowadays do you? I wonder how he's getting on in the SS Torytanic.