Regular readers will be aware that in recent weeks this blog has been extremely critical of Roger Helmer MEP and a number of Conservative MPs for their inconsistencies and positions on the subject of UK membership of the EU.
The news this morning that a weary looking Roger Helmer is resigning his position as one of the MEPs for the East Midlands comes as a complete surprise.
While the disagreements and political arguments between Roger Helmer and me have been quite pointed and uncompromising, including my call for him to resign from The Freedom Association, I have a great deal of respect for the decision he has taken this week. It is likely the thoughts and feelings he must have been experiencing in the run up to his decision are not dissimilar to those I experienced before I resigned as a Conservative Councillor in mid-term and then left the party.
Such a decision will not have been taken lightly – and from his resignation statement Helmer has exhibited principle in confirming that his disillusion with the attitudes of the Conservative Party on a range of issues, but particularly the EU, is at the heart of his decision.
Although I believe Helmer’s trust in some of his Conservative colleagues (such as Chris Heaton-Harris MP) has been and remains misplaced, and I have criticised him in candid fashion for it, I feel Helmer has taken an honourable course of action and I respect him for it.
The decision taken by Roger Helmer should sound as a wake up call to the many Conservative members who continue to kid themselves that the party might, at some point, become Eurosceptic. It won’t. And after years of believing the party’s direction could be changed, Helmer has finally accepted this and stepped down.
The fact is the Conservative Party is firmly in hock to the EU. The powerbrokers who quietly run the party from behind the scenes will ensure it remains so and no amount of campaigning from within the party will effect any change in its pro-EU position. If a person does not believe the EU should govern this country then they have no place in the Conservative Party.
I wish Roger Helmer the best for the future.