Euro-Tories gain a UKIP defector – but Helmer faces the chop

Ben Fox reports from Brussels on the defection of David Campbell Bannerman from the Tories to UKIP and the possible de-whipping of sexist climate denier Roger Helmer.

Yesterday was been just another ordinary day for the Tory MEP group – a delegation which prides itself on making its Westminster back-benchers look professional. They proudly announced the defection of UKIP MEP David Campbell Bannerman, who was UKIP’s deputy leader from 2006-10 before being defeated by Nigel Farage for the party leadership last year.

Campbell Bannerman was a Tory adviser during the Major government, but quit the Tories in 2004 over what he described as the party’s “two-faced position on Europe”.

His defection statement explained:

“I have been pleased with the robust stance taken by David Cameron and Conservative MEPs over the EU budget negotiations, and I believe that it is Conservative MEPs who are working hard to defend Britain’s interests.”

However, Campbell Bannerman still believes Britain should leave the EU.

The Tories must have thought that the defection would deflect attention from Roger Helmer’s increasingly parlous status within the Tory party.

As Left Foot Forward reported yesterday, Helmer – who makes it a habit of insulting as many people as he possibly can – dug himself an elephant-sized hole in a bizarre and outrageously ignorant blog post in which he suggested that not only were some rapes less serious than others but that in what he described as a “date rape” situation, “the victim surely shares a part of the responsibility”.

Helmer also called for the return of hanging in the same post, but we’ll leave that for another day.

Since the press picked up the scandal on Monday evening, pressure has mounted on Helmer, both in the UK and in Brussels, to resign or be expelled from the Tory delegation and the right-wing ECR group. So far, Conservative Party spokesmen have merely distanced themselves from Helmer, saying that his views on rape do not represent those of his party or of his delegation. But it seems likely that Helmer will either jump or be pushed.

Abigail Finnegan, chief executive of the charity Safety Net, which works with victims of sexual and domestic abuse, was just one of many who said Mr Helmer’s views rendered him unfit to represent constituents.

She said:

“If a woman says no then that means no.”

Adding:

“[A woman is] entitled to say no at any point and that has to be respected, no matter what she may have been wearing. There’s a myth in society that some women may set themselves up for rape.

“NSPCC figures suggest that one in six of Mr Helmer’s constituents will have suffered rape or sexual abuse, so how can he represent them with views such as this? He should resign.”

Helmer was expelled from the Tory delegation in 2005 only to have the party whip restored in 2006. It is becoming difficult to see how he will survive his latest outrage.

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11 Responses to “Euro-Tories gain a UKIP defector – but Helmer faces the chop”

  1. HouseOfTwitsLab

    RT @leftfootfwd Euro-Tories gain a UKIP defector – but Helmer faces the chop: http://bit.ly/mheR1j reports Ben Fox from Brussels

  2. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd Euro-Tories gain a UKIP defector – but Helmer faces the chop: http://bit.ly/mheR1j reports Ben Fox from Brussels

  3. Max

    RT @leftfootfwd Euro-Tories gain a UKIP defector – but Helmer faces the chop: http://bit.ly/mheR1j reports Ben Fox from Brussels

  4. Tony Webber

    Euro-Tories gain a UKIP defector – but Helmer faces the chop …: Ben Fox reports from Brussels on the defection… http://bit.ly/lNJrgw

  5. Hens4Freedom

    RT @leftfootfwd: Euro-Tories gain a UKIP defector – but Helmer faces the chop: http://bit.ly/mheR1j reports Ben Fox from Brussels

  6. Gary64

    The reaction to Helmer’s (and previously Clarke’s) remarks, are the story here and not the remarks themselves.

    That a violent, prolonged rape that leaves the victim with stab wounds is more serious than a case where the victim consents, but only because she’s in drink, is blindingly obvious. But in societies that are held hostage by Marxist notions of correctness, plain truth and common sense have to be vigorously excoriated as monstrous, if those notions are to survive the assault of reality.

  7. John P Reid

    A female labour backbencher said in the Chamber monday that when the Tories were goign to give anomynity to rape suspects it implied that the alleged victim are lying by not naming the suspect, it does no such thing– If rape suspects are named when charged their name should be released next to the sort of information
    Fred Bloog’s was arrested for rape yesterday and Under the law he is completely innocent itll Proven guilty up until the point when He sit’s in a dock and the 12 people of the jury pass judgement and the Beek sends him down, till then while in the dock he is as completely as free to go and as Justice stands even if he is released justice stands that there is no miscarriage of justice and that as he’s inncoent that he can hold his head high while awating trial as such he has much rights to be viewed as innocent as you ,I or anyone else male or female,

  8. Daniel Pitt

    Euro-Tories gain a UKIP defector – but Helmer faces the chop: http://bit.ly/mheR1j #ConDemNation

  9. Stephen W

    Helmer is a total and utter fool. As a Conservative I say he should be forced to resign so a decent Conservative can take his place. He is a millstone around our necks and a thorn in the side of every decent person in society. He should go now.

  10. Roger Helmer MEP

    “No means No”, says Abigail Finnegan, as though she is contradicting me. Actually I too said “No means No” in my original blog. And I said that all rapists should be pursued with the full rigour of the law, and should be convicted, and sentenced. I did not say (as was widely reported) that rape victims were to blame for being raped, nor did I say that date rapists should necessarily be given lighter sentences. I said that judges were paid to determine an appropriate sentence. There is no more point in complaining about the media than in complaining about the weather, but nonetheless, much of the press coverage was plain wrong. It was sensationalised and practically libellous.

  11. Helmer's exit takes us out of the frying pan and into the fire | Left Foot Forward

    […] Euro-Tories gain a UKIP defector – but Helmer faces the chop – Ben Fox, May 25th […]

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