Howard confident of European success

CONSERVATIVE leader Michael Howard launched his party's East of England European campaign yesterday, confident the party could achieve the re-election of Tory Euro MEPs.

By Graham Dines

CONSERVATIVE leader Michael Howard launched his party's East of England European campaign yesterday, confident the party could achieve the re-election of Tory Euro MEPs.

The Conservatives need to poll around 42% of the total poll under the system of proportional representation chosen for the European elections across the six counties of Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire in order to retain four MEPs.

The task has been made more difficult because the region has had its number reduced from eight to seven to accommodate MEPs from the 10 new EU states.


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After touring the European Bioinformatics Centre, near Cambridge, Mr Howard believed voters would put their trust in the Tories. "Britain's future is as a positive, influential part of the European Union. But the Conservatives will stand up for Britain, putting Britain first.

"I say to our partners in Europe: if you want to integrate more closely, we won't stop you as long as you do not make us do what we don't want to do. Live and let live, flourish and let flourish.

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He said there was "no doubt that some people want to go down the route of creating a state called Europe." He cited the proposed European constitution which was unveiled by its architect Valéry Giscard d'Estaing as Europe's "Philadelphia moment," meaning a document for a United States of Europe.

Geoffrey Van Orden, who heads the Tory list, said the elections were about the "livelihoods of East Anglian farmers and fishermen, about of tens of thousands of small businesses which are the engine of the local economy, and about the everyday lives of all our 5.5 million constituents because decisions taken in Brussels impact on all of them."

Mr Van Orden said it made a real difference whether voters sent Socialist MEPs to Brussels to interfere in every aspect of our lives, trying to impose more and more suffocating rules, regulations and costs on the economy,

Liberal Democrats who wanted to take the UK headlong into a federal European State, or Conservatives who would "defend national sovereignty, oppose the European Constitution, and bear down on maladministration and waste in the Commission."

Polling day is June 10, and the votes will be counted on June 13, the day the rest of EU nations vote.

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