+++ BREAKING: Conservative MEP defects to Liberal Democrats

Exciting news live from the LDV Broom Cupboard in Birmingham’s ICC.

News reaches us that Conservative MEP Edward McMillan-Scott has defected to the Liberal Democrats and will be joining us here at party conference.

The MEP said today: “I have been around the higher circles of the Conservative party for long enough to fear that on Europe Cameron says one thing in opposition and will do another in government.

“I have long fought against totalitarianism and the extremism and religious persecution it brings. It was wrong of Cameron to associate with MEPs who have extremist pasts in his new European alliance.”

I guess Liberal Democrats will be partying like it’s 1999 2000.

Update: here’s the full text of Edward’s resignation letter to David Cameron …

Dear David,

I am resigning today from my appeal against expulsion from the Conservative Party and from the Party itself to join the Liberal Democrats for three reasons:

    1 I have been around the higher circles of the Party long enough, most recently serving on both the Euro-election and General Election strategy committees at CCHQ, to know that Euro-scepticism is in the hearts of most Conservatives. Your decision to split from the mainstream EPP and create the new ECR group has been universally condemned, even by right-wing commentators such as The Economist as a “shoddy, shaming alliance” . You say you will not ‘bang on about Europe’ and your spokesman make warm noises. But I fear that on Europe you say one thing in opposition and will do another in government.

    2 You continue to refuse to accept that Michal Kaminski, who now leads the ECR and against whom I stood and won re-election as Vice-President of the European Parliament last July, has had ‘anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist links’. You say that you are against extremism at home , yet you propitiate it abroad.

    3 My family, friends and those who work with me will all confirm that I have sought in good faith an amicable resolution of my dispute at all levels in the Party. I have written to you on several occasions without a reply and have pursued the appeal process to which you submitted me in the diminishing expectation of fairness. I have stated my case modestly in the media. Last weekend your lawyers made clear that the appeal would continue to be rigged by you, despite your public pretensions to decency and fairness. As my friend Henry Porter put it in the Observer, your response has been ‘thuggish and panicky’ . You say one thing in public and do another in private.

My reasons for joining the Liberal Democrats are that in Nick Clegg they have a leader whom I like, admire and respect. They are internationalists, not nationalists. They are committed to politics based the values of fairness and change, but you are committed to power for its own sake.

Yours sincerely,

Edward McMillan-Scott MEP
Vice President of the European Parliament
Responsible for Democracy and Human Rights