Hannan accused of “dishonourable” behaviour as Tory MEPs lurch right

The Tory right were on the march in Brussels today, voting in hardline Eurosceptic Martin Callanan as the leader of the party's MEPs. Callanan was the unanimous victor in the poll of the Conservative's 24 Members of the European Parliament, winning over 50 per cent of the vote - including the support of Daniel Hannan, who had told Callanan's rival Charles Tannock he would vote for him, only to double-cross him.

The Tory right were on the march in Brussels today, voting in hardline Eurosceptic Martin Callanan as the leader of the party’s MEPs. Callanan was the clear victor in the poll of the Conservative’s 24 Members of the European Parliament, winning over 50 per cent of the vote – including the support of Daniel Hannan, who had told Callanan’s rival Charles Tannock he would vote for him, only to double-cross him.

Left Foot Forward understands that Hannan and Tannock had a stand-up row following the vote, Tannock telling him:

“I don’t mind that you didn’t vote for me but you should have told me before hand… It was very dishonourable what you did. You told me to stand and that you would vote for me.”

To which Hannan replied:

“I urged you to stand but I never said I would vote for you.”

Tannock ended the exchange by saying:

“We can continue this argument at a different place, but I have witnesses. I had you down as a vote in favour.”

The newly-elected Callanan’s voting record in the European Parliament includes:

April 2009: He voted against establishing the horizontal equality directive, which would outlaw discrimination in providing equal treatment on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

May 2009: He was the only Tory to vote against a resolution on women in the developing world which called for rape and sexual violence to be recognised as a war crime.

October 2010: He voted against an immediate moratorium on the death penalty worldwide.

Callanan isn’t the only regressive to have been elected by Tory MEPs today, however. The others are:

• Giles Chichester (deputy leader) – in 2009 he dismissed climate change as “government spin and misinformation”;

• Ashley Fox was (ECR Bureau) – in 2010, he voted against an immediate moratorium on the death penalty worldwide, and, along with other Tory MEPs, he voted against cracking down on tax evasion and tax havens, calling ‘tax competition’ “a jolly good thing”;

• Emma McClarkin (ECR Bureau) – in 2010, she voted against condemning the death penalty for children and the mentally disabled, and voted against an immediate moratorium on the death penalty worldwide;

• Syed Kamall (Treasurer) – in 2010, he voted against condemning the death penalty in Iran.

The lurch to the right in Brussels is in stark contrast to the more grown up, left-leaning tone adopted towards Europe by the Conservative-led coalition in Westminster, with the prime minister’s sensible pro-European policies causing anxiety and anger amongst Eurosceptic hardliners not just on the continent but on the green benches behind him.

In recent weeks, Mr Cameron has annoyed Eurosceptics by holding substantive talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and agreeing to defence pooling with the French, while George Osborne this week agreed to help bail out Ireland. William Hague has also come in for criticism from the Tory right, true blue torch-bearer Tim Montgomerie, editor of the Conservative Home website, last week writing:

“William Hague proves the law of first impressions. It is nearly ten years since the man who is now Foreign Secretary stood on the back of a lorry, promising to save the pound. That is the image that remains in the public mind but Mr Hague’s fight-them-on-the-beaches patriotism is a decade old.

“Journalists may still think of the former Tory leader as his party’s leading Eurosceptic, still viewing him through the lens of 2001, but the footsoldiers, who fight the transfer of ever more powers to Brussels, laugh at that description.”

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