Anthea McIntyre: Conservative 'survivors' will roll up their sleeves for Britain
Despite their seats being whittled down to four in the new European Parliament, stalwart Conservative MEPs will knuckle down to the job of delivering Brexit, explains Anthea McIntyre.
Anthea McIntyre | Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual
Britain’s Liberal Democrats and Brexit Party MEPs may feel they have the wind in their sails as they prepare to take up their seats in the new European Parliament.
However, one stubborn fact remains as true now as it did before the election which gave them their tickets to Brussels.
It is this: Only Conservative politicians can deliver the Brexit people voted for nearly three years ago.
Just how it can be delivered - and under which new Conservative Party leader - remains to be seen. But nobody else will do it.
Lib Dems simply want to deny Brexit and the result of the referendum and Labour wants to dilute it until it is impossible to tell the difference between in and out.
Farage and his new crew want to disrupt everything and wreck the economy in the process. Fortunately, with or without his new cohort of MEPs, he is powerless to do so.
The decisions that matter will be taken in our Westminster Parliament, which remains historically a Farage-free zone.
“Lib Dems simply want to deny Brexit and the result of the referendum and Labour wants to dilute it until it is impossible to tell the difference between in and out”
Of course, we Conservatives were disappointed by the European election. It was one we did not expect or wish to fight.
We fought hard under the circumstances and I was sorry to see so many hard-working and effective colleagues lose their seats through circumstances broadly beyond their control.
I was very pleased to retain my own seat and I am grateful to the loyal Conservatives who helped our region out-perform the national trend and supported me despite their frustrations over politics in general.
Unfortunately, our argument did not cut through as we had hoped. Many people were sold a false dream.
It will certainly seem strange to our four “survivors” to be working in such a small delegation when we were used to having a major voice in the Parliament's third-biggest group, but I suspect you will see us punch above our weight.
We are all flexible, hard-working and ready to take on the multiple challenges and multiple jobs that will face us - for as long as required.
Win, lose, or draw, this was always going to be a tough election; but the important task now is to get on with the job we signed up for - delivering Brexit and standing up for Britain.
“We fought hard under the circumstances and I was sorry to see so many hard-working and effective colleagues lose their seats through circumstances broadly beyond their control”
All those votes for Farage and UKIP have not brought Brexit one step nearer but made it harder. All they have done is shifted Jeremy Corbyn a little nearer to Number 10.
Across Europe, dissatisfaction with the political process and, yes, the European project, has boosted votes for parties at what were the margins of Right and Left.
My fear is that the EU’s leaders will once more misread the symptoms and prescribe more Europe, greater integration and increased compliance as the cure.
The EU keeps mistaking rigidity for strength.
Unlike Farage and the new extremists joining the Parliament this year, Conservative MEPs will continue to work positively with colleagues from other nations and other parties wherever it is appropriate.
Unlike UKIP and the rest, the track record of Conservative MEPs is exemplary.
Be it on combatting red tape, standing up for our farmers and manufacturers, or tackling the scandal of Dieselgate, Conservative MEPs have rolled their sleeves up, done the work and done their best for their voters.
The important task for all of us now is to work for a smooth Brexit and for our MEPs to see it through in the European Parliament.
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