Guido’s man in Brussels whispers that it is dawning on the EPP that the Tories really are off. EPP-ED leader and German MEP Hans-Gert Poettering realises that for Hans, it’s all over. Only 7 out of the 20 Tory MEPs have turned out to be German agents, the rest are looking forward to the new group. Cameron is threatening to execute the traitors.
Negotiations with Czech President Vaclav Klaus’ ODS party will be finalised by Hague on January 31. The gravy train for faction funding by the European Parliament arrives March 31, so that is the launch deadline for the new faction. The Thatcherite ODS are highly credible partners since they are likely to be the Czech governing party after the Czech summer elections. Expect Swedish, Polish and Baltic free trade / free market parties to sign up as well. There is even talk of a French representation in the new grouping.