Helmer’s Unresignation: Tory MEP’s Leader ‘Asked Him to Hold On’

Co-conspirators who were following the blog over the Christmas break  will know that Roger Helmer has withdrawn his resignation pending problems with the succession. Helmer wants a guarantee that Rupert Matthews, the next candidate on the East Midlands party list, succeeds him. Tory party chairman Sayeeda Warsi is apparently insisting on someone other than Matthews, namely “a less-geeky woman”. This has not gone down well with the local party. 

Guido is now told by people in a position to know that it was Martin Callanan, leader of the Tory MEPs, who asked Helmer to stay on until at least 20 January, so that he could “participate in some crucial votes in the European Parliament”. So the delay was entirely at Martin’s request and had nothing to do with Rupert Matthews position. Given that Helmer’s single vote is unlikely to be crucial at the talking shop that is the European Parliament and in any event Matthews is of a like mind to Helmer, this line isn’t completely convincing. Nevertheless this is what they now want to have us believe…

UPDATE, January 5: Roger himself insists “I was asked by our delegation leader, Martin Callanan, to stay through January, for some key votes in the Jan Straz session.”




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Jo Swinson on Chris Rennard…

“Vince — and Tim before him — have repeatedly, publicly said Rennard is not welcome anywhere near their frontbench team, even as an adviser. I remain deeply frustrated that he was not expelled from the party through its disciplinary process. It just feels wrong, and I do not want Lord Rennard to continue as a member of the party. As far as I am concerned, he is not welcome.”

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