In a letter of resignation to the the East Midlands Conservatives regional Chairman Stephen Mold, Helmer wrote:
Resignation from the European Parliament
It was a great pleasure to see you at the Party Conference in Manchester last week.
I am writing to you now to advise you that I shall be resigning my seat in the European parliament effective December 31st this year.
As with any major decision, this is driven by a number of factors. Some might say that it is high time I stood aside for a younger man. For myself, I think that twelve-and-a-half years banging my head against the same brick wall in Brussels is perhaps long enough. And I should certainly like to see more of my three fine grandsons.
But it would be disingenuous to deny that my decision is dictated in part by my increasing disillusion with the attitudes of the Conservative Party. I am finding it ever more difficult to defend the policies of the Coalition, not only on my key issues of Europe, and of climate and energy, but on a range of other matters besides.
I will have more to say about this in coming days…
Helmer not joining UKIP suggests that he is fed up with the whole EU structure more than just the Tories losing their way…
UPDATE: Helmer’s place will be taken by Rupert Matthews, who was second on the list in 2009. Guido would be surprised if Helmer was the only Tory MEP not to make it to the next election…