Back in July we were voting in the Strasbourg Plenary on the proposal to set up the EEAS — the European External Action Service, or EU Diplomatic Service (under the wise and guiding hand of Baroness Ashton). And looking down the voting list, I and a couple of colleagues saw that we were whipped to vote in favour.To his credit Roger voted no, but as he pertinently asks which way now for Tory eurosceptics.? There is a simple answer to that one, but how many of them will listen?
It had to be a mistake. As a Party, we’ve always opposed the EEAS, and we opposed the Lisbon Treaty which provided its legal basis (or at least we opposed Lisbon until it was ratified). But clearly we would not actually be voting in favour — would we?
I turned round to our Foreign Affairs Spokesman (at least we still regard EU issues as foreign, even if Brussels regards them as domestic), Charles Tannock MEP (London), two rows behind me, and I shouted “Hey Charles, there’s a mistake. We’re down to vote YES on EEAS!”. To which he replied “That’s right. Instructions from London”.
So which way now for euro-sceptics in the Party (which is most of the membership)? I have written to William Hague requesting an explanation of this volte face, but to date have received no reply.
20 minutes ago