Ex-Tory Roger Helmer MEP urges Tory MEP Dan Hannan to join UKIP
Tory MEP Daniel Hannan has come under pressure from former Tory and current UKIP MEP Roger Helmer to consider his position in the party, as Helmer says Hannan is “completely out of sympathy with Conservative policy”.
Speaking to LondonlovesBusiness.com, UKIP MEP Roger Helmer said: “Let me send out the message loud and clear that any Conservative who wishes to talk to UKIP will certainly have his identity protected until if, and when, he makes a decision to move.”
Presented with the example of renowned maverick Tory MEP Daniel Hannan, Helmer responded: “The big question is to ask Dan Hannan what he’s doing because he’s completely out of sympathy with Conservative policy, but he must speak for himself.”
Helmer argued that a Conservative politician of Hannan’s generation wouldn’t find it as easy to join UKIP as he did: “If you take a Conservative […] in his forties and he’s got two kids in school and he’s paying school fees and a mortgage, […] if he were to come across and join us, he might not get elected – or perhaps not elected again next time. I was in the privileged position in that I’m knocking on a bit, I’m well past the state retirement age. […] I’ve got nothing to lose.”
A UKIP spokesman told LondonlovesBusiness.com that Hannan was “definitely an able and bright MEP who is clearly sympathetic to our views”.
“If he did come along and want to talk to us, what’s wrong with that?” she added.
LondonlovesBusiness.com contacted Hannan’s office but no-one was available for comment.
Helmer’s warmth towards Hannan is of little surprise, as they have shared political history. In 2009, they both stood down from front-bench positions on the Conservatives’ European Parliament team in protest over Tory leader David Cameron’s “cosmetic” U-turn on the Lisbon Treaty. Last April, Helmer noticed a fake account masquerading as Hannan, that depicted itself as if the Tory MEP was publicly defecting to UKIP.
“Of course, since I crossed the floor myself, people are constantly asking me if Dan will follow, since his views on Europe seem to be exactly the same as mine. My only answer — the simple truth — is that I have no reason to believe so, but that you’d better ask him,” Helmer wrote at the time.
Hannan has referred to UKIP leader Nigel Farage as a “friend” and has also written in support of the Conservatives forging an alliance with UKIP: “One way or another, we need to get to the point where Conservative and UKIP voters can back the same candidates.”